The plight of war veterans returning home was brought to life Monday for members of the Williamsport Rotary Club by June Moser of the Vet Center, 49 E. Fourth St., where help is extended to combat veterans readjusting to civilian life.
A Navy veteran and licensed mental health therapist, Moser said: "There are so many layers to what a military deployment does to a person and their families."
"The mere fact of leaving one's family, and then going to a third-world country and seeing atrocities, can take a serious toll on someone," Moser said.
While some may take the rigors and potential traumas of military experience in strides, Moser said, for others, it does not align with the values they learned before their time in the military.
The Vet Center offers various types of readjustment counseling, all of which are free.
Some of the counseling focuses on desensitization.
But Moser stressed that the therapy she and her organization specialize in is not there to help veterans forget what they experienced in combat, but to "help take the punch out."
"It takes courage to touch feelings you might not understand," Moser said. "Sometimes it takes up to five years for a veteran to realize he or she needs help."
The Vet Center is open to anyone who saw combat, veterans and those in active military service.
Moser said that Vet Center records are completely confidential, so active military personnel can feel comfortable working through their emotional trauma without their superiors finding out.
Moser said that families need help readjusting as well when a member comes back from a war experience.
That's why the organization offers therapy in group, marital and individual sessions.
"What we can offer to veterans are fellow comrades," Moser said. "Someone to talk to with similar experiences."
The center has locations in Williamsport, Lock Haven, State College, Wellsboro, Sayre and Sunbury. Group meetings are held at each location.
Moser stressed that the Vet Center is not the same as the local Veterans Affairs office, where military men and women
For more information, go to www.vetcenter.va.gov or call 570-327-5281.