Soldiers get help with adjustment to home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Soldiers get help with adjustment to home

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July 28, 2006

Thomas County --  South Georgia's 48th Brigade soldiers returned from Iraq three months ago, but returning to civilian life after a year at war isn't easy. The Veterans Health Administration wants to help. Next month, many soldiers will go through mandatory counseling to make sure their transition home hasn't left them shell shocked.

During their 11 month tour in Iraq south Georgia soldiers witnessed countless attacks. Now that those soldiers are back the question for many is can they put what they went through behind them.

"Probably the hardest part is that you still kind of feel out of whack, because we were gone for so long, we didn't have contact with our families or what was happening locally in town. So you kind of feel like a gear that's out of place," said Staff Sgt. Robin Lawson, 48th Brigade.

Staff Sergeant Robin Lawson is back to being Captain Robin Lawson with the Thomas County Fire Department. He settled back into a family role quickly, but still thinks of Iraq.

"You always worry is something going to happen that you're going to have to go back, and you know we'd rather be here," said Lawson.

While Lawson adjusted well, others haven't. Next month soldiers must attend one mandatory counseling session with the Veterans Health Administration.

"Many of these soldiers are going to experience nightmares, flashbacks, if they had an experience with an IED or an ambush," said Eric Lundblom, Readjustment Counseling Technician.

The biggest test for soldiers may be dealing with anger issues.

"One of the biggest thing they bring back is anger management issues, and several of them have contacted us about seeing a counselor for anger management issues," said Lundblom.

Many like Lawson won't experience any problems at all, but agree the evaluations may help some. "It's still apart of our life because we wonder what's going to happen, what the future holds for that situation," said Lawson.

Counseling isn't restricted to just soldiers. Parents, spouses and children who have also had a trying time with the 11 month deployment are also eligible for help.

Counseling sessions are already available every Tuesday at the Albany Armory and Thursday at the Valdosta Armory. You can contact the Veterans Health Administration to schedule an appointment at (850)942-8810. 

The center offers individual readjustment counseling, referral for benefit assistance, group counseling, liaison with community agencies, marital and family couseling, bereavement counseling and much more.

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