BURNET — Sometimes, the best thing a person can do is simply talk. This is especially true for veterans who might be having a difficult time because of their military experiences — whether from the most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or conflicts decades ago such as Vietnam and Korea.
“One of the best things some of them can do is just talk about what’s bothering them,” said Patty Murray, the facilitator for the Veterans Peer-to-Peer support group that meets regularly at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 601 N. Wood (at the corner of Wood and Lamon.) “But it has to be a place where everything they say stays there. And that’s what I’m trying to do with this group.”
Murray took specialized training through the Veterans Administration and Fort Hood in Killeen to become a certified facilitator. But as a veteran herself and the wife of a Vietnam veteran, who has since passed away, Murray already had some understanding of what veterans might be feeling.
“Many come back, whether it’s from Afghanistan and Iraq or even Vietnam, and they won’t talk about what they feel or don’t know where to get support,” Murray said. “That’s part of what this group is about.”
Basically, it’s just what it sounds like: a group of veterans sitting down and talking. Murray said veterans don’t have to jump right in and share their problems or struggles but can simply show up, sit in and meet the other attendees.
“Everything stays right there,” she said. “It’s just a way to help the veterans if they need to talk.”
Murray also can help veterans find their way through the red tape and other things that come with getting Veterans Administration assistance.
“If there’s anyway we can help, we’ll try,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s just a matter of letting them talk. They’re there to help each other as well.”
While the recent turnouts haven’t been large, Murray said numbers really don’t matter. She recently received a card from the Rev. Jerry Lyle, who was the one who encouraged her to hold the program.
“He wrote that, even if one shows up, the program’s worth it,” Murray said.
The group is taking a break during the holidays, but Murray said the next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8, 2014, in the church library. Call (512) 756-2334 for more information.