Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Florida Lawmakers Push Alternative PTSD Treatment for Veterans

Florida lawmakers working to get veterans access to alternative treatments such as acupuncture
Action News Jax
by: Michael Yoshida
Jan 17, 2017

There’s a push to make it easier for Florida veterans to get access to “alternative treatments” for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and other injuries.
The treatments include things like acupuncture, equine therapy, music therapy and meditation.

They're included in two bills introduced by Florida lawmakers.There’s a push to make it easier for Florida veterans to get access to “alternative treatments” for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and other injuries.

The treatments include things like acupuncture, equine therapy, music therapy and meditation.

Action News Jax spoke with veterans who are already benefiting from this form of treatment.

“You know it took me years to even talk about my problems,” said Army veteran Chad Childers.

Childers, an Army Ranger, was medically discharged after deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I tried to cope with my issues by drinking and ended up out on the streets,” Childers said.

Childers eventually found his way to the Five Star Veterans Center.

“When they first brought up doing art therapy, I’m like 'uh, what’s this cheeseball stuff? I’m not, you know, in elementary school anymore,' but I went to it and I actually had a great time,” Childers said.
read more here

Fascinating Numbers on Department of Veterans Affairs

VA by the numbers: Has the department made progress?
Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
January 16, 2017

If Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin is confirmed as the next VA Secretary, he’ll take on a broader profile than just the medical aspects of the department.

Here’s a look at some key facts and figures on where the department stands today, based on current officials’ own statistics and assessments of operations since current VA Secretary Bob McDonald took office in August 2014.

** The VA budget totals $176.9 billion for fiscal 2017, almost twice the budget total when Obama took office in fiscal 2009 ($93.7 billion) and almost four times the total when the war in Afghanistan began in fiscal 2001 ($48.7 billion).

Of the 2017 total, roughly $77.4 billion is set aside for discretionary programs, and the rest for disability, medical and education benefits, along with other mandatory spending.
On the list,
2009 7.8 million veterans in VA system.
2016 9 million veterans in the VA system.

2009 277,000 VA employees.
2016 365,000 VA employees.

2009 265,000 100% Disabled veterans.
2016 542,000 100% Disabled veterans.
read more here

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tech. Sgt. Steven Bellino PTSD and "Other Factors"

Air Force: PTSD, Other Factors Led Airman to Kill Commander
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN ANTONIO
Jan 16, 2017

U.S. Air Force investigators have determined that post-traumatic stress disorder and the unraveling of a distinguished military career led an airman to fatally shoot his commander last year at a San Antonio base before killing himself, according to Air Force documents.

The April shooting at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland prompted a lockdown and officials to abruptly end a nearby military training parade with thousands of spectators.

Investigators determined Tech. Sgt. Steven Bellino confronted Lt. Col. William Schroeder before the two struggled and Schroeder was shot multiple times. Both men were veterans of U.S. Special Operations Command.

Air Force documents given to the San Antonio Express-News ( http://bit.ly/2jC5obt ) by Bellino's family show he participated in an elite pararescue program with Schroeder but did not complete it.
read more here
A Long Career in Military’s Elite Spirals Into a Killing and a Suicide
The New York Times
By DAVE PHILIPPS
APRIL 15, 2016
Military and law enforcement personnel after a shooting last week at Joint Base San Antonio in which, the authorities say, a sergeant fatally shot his commander, then killed himself. Credit Darren Abate/Reuters


Investigators believe Bellino, 41, resented the outcome following a remarkable military career that included repeated tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and time as an Army Ranger and Green Beret. He also had served as an FBI agent and was a CIA contractor before enlisting in the Air Force and attempting to join the elite unit.


After two decades in the Army Special Forces, several deployments overseas and a stint in the F.B.I., Steven Bellino switched to the Air Force to become an elite pararescue lifesaver trained to jump from planes and save aircrews behind enemy lines. The motto of the rescuers is, “That others may live.”

But last week, just a few months into training, Sergeant Bellino, facing court-martial for being absent without leave, walked into his squadron’s headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio, in Texas, with two pistols and gunned down his commander, Lt. Col. William Schroeder, according to a Department of Defense spokeswoman, who said the sergeant then killed himself.
read more here

Parris Island Marine Families Question Cause of Cancer in Their Children

Marine family wonders if child's cancer could be linked to Lowcountry military housing
WJCL News
Meghan Schiller
Jan 15, 2017
A Marine wife created a video last week in effort to warn and educate other military families living on or nearby Beaufort's Laurel Bay Housing. The mother, Amanda Whatley, believes there is the potential for those living in the area to develop cancer and other health problems.
A Marine wife created a video last week in effort to warn and educate other military families living on or nearby Beaufort's Laurel Bay Housing. The mother, Amanda Whatley, believes there is the potential for those living in the area to develop cancer and other health problems.

The Lowcountry military housing neighborhood, filled with Marine families stationed at Parris Island or MCAS Beaufort, is now under the national microscope.

The Whatley family lived in Beaufort from July 2007 to November 2010, according to her Youtube video. In the video, Watley talks about her daughter Katie's fight with cancer. She says that Katie is one of 8 children that she knows of that have been diagnosed since living at Laurel Bay.

Whatley recently posted an update to her Youtube post, saying that the number of children with cancer has grown from 8 to 13.
read more here
Laurel Bay Military Housing and Kids with Cancer
Amanda Whatley
Published on Jan 7, 2017

***Edited to add.....The number of children with cancer has grown from 8 to 13 since the video went live. I have also received emails from at least 20 adults who were stationed in Beaufort and then diagnosed with cancer. I expect that number is actually exponentially higher. The only thing I wish I could add to the video is that we are not certain that the oil tanks are the issue. We have asked the Marine Corps to check a list of contaminated areas on Laurel Bay, Parris Island, and MCAS Beaufort. ***

This video is meant to serve as a public service announcement to all families that have been stationed at MCRD Parris Island or MCAS Beaufort and lived in the Laurel Bay military housing community. In the last several years, 8 children (that we know of so far) that lived at Laurel Bay have been diagnosed with cancer. Please share this video with the Marine Corps and Navy families you know that have lived there.

If your child has been diagnosed with cancer and you were stationed in Beaufort, please contact me at courage4katie@gmail.com

Twentynine Palms Marin Killed in Training, Another Wounded

The next time you hear anyone say that most of the suicides occur without being deployed, remember this,
One Marine killed, second wounded in training accident
Marine Corps Times
By: Jeff Schogol
January 15, 2017

One Marine was killed and a second Marine wounded while conducting small arms live-fire training Friday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.


Both Marines’ names are being withheld pending next of kin notification, according to a news release from the combat training base. An investigation into the accident has been launched.


The incident happened at 5:05 p.m. Friday as the Marines were preparing for the start of Integrated Training Exercise 2-17, the news release says.

read more here

Training itself is dangerous, as you have just read, and it should be a factor in any report on the rise in suicides among servicemembers.

Then add in the fact that every member of the military, regardless of branch, has received training in what they have been told will prevent PTSD and stop suicides. 

Now add in the simple question we have never heard and explanation for. If that training was not good enough to prevent suicides in non-deployed, then how the hell did they think it would work for those deployed into combat multiple times?

Camp Bravo Arizona Refuge for Homeless Veterans

Homeless veterans take refuge at Arizona encampment
PBS Newshour
January 14, 2017
TAZE BEN-ATON: "We have something here that I’ve never found anywhere else. We have a VA navigator. Somebody who knows the system, knows who to talk to, knows who to call if you don’t get what you need. And he does it for us and he’s just the best there is."

MITCHELL RILEY: It’s a cool morning late October, people in these tents begin to rise. A passing train their wake up call. This is Camp Bravo. Next to Santa Rita Park on Tucson’s south side. A place where homeless vets and others can find comfort, food, and shelter. The camp is run by Veterans on Patrol, a program of Walking For the Forgotten Ministries. Leaders of this effort seek out homeless vets and offer safe haven, camaraderie, and a path to support services. Bravo is patrolled around the clock in shifts. Manny was on night watch.

This is Calamity. She came in during the night in need of help.

MARTIN MARSZALEK: I was 101st Airborne. I actually went in as a voice radio operator, but when they found out that I had some pretty extensive medical background, they made me an expert field medic. I jumped out of perfectly good aircraft with a medical bag and tried to attend to folks who needed help.

This is for your immune system. It has magnesium and seed coming out.

My name is Martin Marszalek. Everybody here calls me “Doc.” I am the Base Commander and Chief Medical Officer. I kind of keep things rolling along here.

This is vitamin C, keep you from catching cold.

Our mission is to go out and find as many homeless veterans that we can possibly locate and bring them in. Try to transition them from homelessness to housing, get them medical care, things that they’ve been doing without for so many years.
read more here

UK Kicking Out Servicemembers Too!

BETRAYAL OF OUR BOYS 
The Sun UK
EXCLUSIVE BY STEVE HAWKES, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR 15th January 2017
“The toll on our troops does not end as they leave the battlefield.”
IMAGE: PA:PRESS ASSOCIATION Mental discharges have made up 14 per cent of troops who have left the services in the last five years 


Theresa May urged to tackle the spiralling PTSD timebomb as shock figures show soaring mental discharges A staggering 473 soldiers were discharged from the Army, Navy or RAF for “mental or behavioural” reasons in 2015-2016 – more than double the number in 2011-2012 

THERESA MAY was last night accused of “betraying” Our Boys after a staggering 150 per cent rise in troops quitting the Armed Forces over mental health issues.

The PM was urged to tackle the spiralling PTSD timebomb as shock figures revealed 473 soldiers were discharged from the Army, Navy or RAF for “mental or behavioural” reasons in 2015-2016. 


The total is more than double the number in 2011-2012.

And the Ministry of Defence stats show that of the 473, 189 were for cases of post-traumatic stress disorder – more than three times the 50 recorded in 2011-2012.

Lib Dem peer Paddy Ashdown said the figures laid bare the Government’s failings on mental health – and urged them to set up funding to tackle post-traumatic stress and depression in the Forces.
read more here

Death of Fort Bliss Soldier in Kuwait Under Investigation

SoCal Soldier Killed in Non-Combat Incident
NBC 4 News
By City News Service
January 14, 2017
A 23-year old Army soldier from Hemet was killed in a non-combat related incident in Kuwait, the Pentagon announced Saturday. Spc. John P. Rodriguez died while "supporting U.S. Army Central (Command)" as a combat engineer in Kuwait as part of Operation Inherent Resolve at the time of his death, according to Gil Telles, an Army spokesperson. The operation comprises of a U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The circumstances surrounding his death were not disclosed due to an ongoing investigation. Rodriguez had been assigned to the 2nd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, of the 1st Armored Division headquartered in Ft. Bliss, Texas.
read more here

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Vietnam Veteran's Medal of Honor Ceremony On Hold

Vietnam veteran's Medal of Honor on hold during presidential transition
Army Times
By: Meghann Myers
January 15, 2017
Jim McCloughan is in line for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor, for his actions as a medic during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam.
Photo Credit: Courtesy photo via the Detroit Free Press
When President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act two days before Christmas, he also signed off on a provision buried down in the weeds to allow a Michigan man to receive the Medal of Honor five decades after the actions for which he earned it.

After years of wait-and-see and a push from his local congressional representatives, former Spc. Jim McCloughan, 70, was authorized to receive the military's highest award for his actions as a medic in Vietnam -- but now that the executive branch is knee-deep in a transition from the Obama to Trump administrations, the award is again on hold.
In May 1969, McCloughan was a 23-year-old private first class medic with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill, a gruesome two-day battle that left dozens killed, wounded or missing in action.

McCloughan survived with some grenade shrapnel and a bullet wound in his arm, but managed to save 10 people, he told the Detroit Free Press last year.

He also earned two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars with V device, the Vietnam Service Medal with three battle stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palms and one oak leaf, among others, according to a December release from the office of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who lead the charge to push through the award for McCloughan.
read more here

The Power to Heal Combat PTSD is In You Too!

Power to Heal is Already Within You
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 15, 2017

Did you know you have the power to heal PTSD within you? How could you know that when the only outcome folks want to talk about is how many veterans they believe are committing suicide? Seems that raising awareness should have started with changing your life instead of leaving you as you were on your worst day.


The only way to have PTSD is surviving a traumatic event. Let's think about that for a second. It did not start within you but happened to you. You survived it. Any shame in that?

There are different levels as well as different causes. Civilians can get PTSD and the only way psychologists understood that was after combat veterans were studied. There is a difference between the type of PTSD veterans have, other occupational causes with law enforcement come close and so does the type firefighters get hit with.

A civilian can have their life changed with one event. For veterans it was a series of events topped off with the threat of more during each deployment. For law enforcement and firefighters the threat is on a daily basis for year after year. To choose any of these occupations requires many qualities. Courage, dedication and an abundance of love to be willing to sacrifice your own life for the sake of someone else. Any shame in that?

What you were willing to do was based on love and faith that you had it within you to endure whatever came with the job. Still, being resilient enough to do your job, did not make you impervious to the pain you would carry within you. None of it was just about you in the moments you were risking your life. The pain you carried away from it was yours but it was also the pain caused to others. Any shame in that?

That ability to love others do deeply also came with the strength to grieve just as deeply. When you were last on the list of people to take care of, to help live, it turned into much more than moments. You became unworthy to yourself to help yourself. That's how much you loved. Any shame in that?

Maybe it is time to think about things differently. Everything you needed within you to do all that was required of you came with everything you need to recover from all of it. What you have convinced yourself is weakness within you, is actually what is strength and all you have to do is channel into that power.

There are many leaders trying to get you to understand that. Military Officers, current as well as retired, have a message for you. They have PTSD too and are unashamed to admit it. You matter more to them than they pride does. They know what you are going through and have come to terms with how to defeat it and win the battle for the brothers and sisters they led. It is what they did for love.

Maj. General David Blackledge
"It's part of our profession...nobody wants to admit that they've got a weakness in this area." He went on to say, "I have dealt with it. I'm dealing with it now...We need to be able to talk about it."

Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews

Fort Stewart, Georgia - War changes a person. It's a truth Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo knows all too well from his 29 years of service - and counting - in the U.S. Army.And it's a truth he tries to share with each new man and woman arriving at Fort Stewart to serve in the 3rd Infantry Division he guides."Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews and I try to speak to each newcomers' group," said the commanding general of the 3rd ID. "We get all ranks - from private to colonel - and in part, we try to impress upon them ... it is a point of moral courage to step forward and say you need help."

General Carter Ham

So he sought screening for post-traumatic stress and got counseling from a chaplain. That helped him "get realigned," he says."You need somebody to assure you that it's not abnormal," Ham says. "It's not abnormal to have difficulty sleeping. It's not abnormal to be jumpy at loud sounds. It's not abnormal to find yourself with mood swings at seemingly trivial matters. More than anything else, just to be able to say that out loud." 
“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” That is what Jesus said to the Centurion after he humbled himself in front of his men to a member of the people they held contempt for. Remember, this was during a time when Roman soldiers were treating the people of region as if they should be wiped off the face of the earth. For a Centurion to seek out Jesus and then ask him for this tremendous favor took an abundance of courage fueled by love.
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Matthew 8:5-13
Saving the life was so important that he pushed his pride aside for the sake of someone else. There is a lot of that going on in this country right now. Medal of Honor heroes talking about their own pain while wearing the highest honor around their necks because they care about others.

The number of officers coming forward, pushing aside their own pride for your sake, it simply astonishing. All they want to do is let you know you have nothing to be ashamed of and follow their example by healing to live a better life after combat.

Adm. William McRaven (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and longtime Navy SEAL


But in its telling, McRaven was forced to stop in his tracks and take a long pause before he could complete his story. For 10 seconds, the audience sat in silence as he struggled through his own emotions to find his voice. It drove home yet another lesson: No one – not the top warrior nor the highest star admiral - is immune to war’s toll.
Isn't it time for you to use that power within you and around you to heal? You learned how to be a soldier and now it is time to learn how to be a healing veteran.

Combat PTSD Veteran Wins Battle For All Others With Service Dogs

St. Augustine veteran wins battle with major airline; immediate changes ordered
Florida Times Union
Julia Jenae
January 12, 2017
Veteran Sgt. Kevin Crowell and Bella are pictured. (First Coast News)
A St. Augustine combat veteran’s fight with an airline that forced him off a plane due to his service dog is bringing about change across the country, according to Times-Union news partner First Coast News.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released a consent order Monday, finding American Airlines violated the Aircraft Carrier Access Act by failing to properly train employees on disabled passengers with service animals. The order requires American Airlines to implement new training for all gate agents and reservation agents within 30 days.

Sgt. Kevin Crowell, a disabled combat veteran, filed his formal complaint against the carrier in 2014. Crowell was traveling to Key West with his wife along with his service dog, Bella.

According to the complaint, a flight attendant told him pets were not allowed in the bulkhead (front of plane), referring to his registered service animal. Despite having reserved an airline ticket online as a passenger with a service animal, an error in proper coding created a dispute on the flight. Crowell was asked to deboard the plane, an action his complaint said aggravated his post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Army Father and Son Part of Fort Hood's Historical Record

Fathers, sons commanding same major Army unit rare, but it happens
Killeen Daily Herald
David A Bryant
Herald Staff Writer
January 14, 2017

Lt. Gen. Paul “Butch” Funk proudly said last week he was “pretty sure” that when his son, Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, takes over as III Corps and Fort Hood commander, it would be the first time in corps history that a father and son had commanded the unit. He is correct, the Army verified Friday.
J. Parker Roberts, 1ST INF. DIV.
Funk
Retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, left, and retired Lt. Gen. Walter F. Ulmer Jr., right, pose with framed artwork gifted to the pair by the 1st Inf. Div. and Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley, Ks., commanding general, center, Sept. 12, 2013, at Riley’s Conference Center.
But the Funks won’t be the first father and son team to command the same corps-level unit in the Army’s history — although it is rare enough to require a lot of research, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson.

“There may be others out there, but we don’t normally track this type of data,” she said.

One of the most well known sets of names to command the same corps are Gen. Creighton W. Abrams and his son, Gen. John N. Abrams, both of whom commanded V Corps in Germany.

Another father-son team was Lt. Gens. William Caldwell III and William Caldwell IV, both of which commanded Army North/Fifth Army and Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
read more here

The 85 Year-Old Marathon Runner Beating Competition Half His Age

The 85 Year-Old Marathon Runner Beating Competition Half His Age
Vice Sports
January 12, 2017
Published on Jan 12, 2017
Ed Whitlock is a once-in-a-generation athlete. He won't get the same coverage as a LeBron James, but he's been competitively running marathons at a high level for over 60 years. What exactly is the secret to shattering records for every age bracket out there? According to Ed, it's running laps through a cemetery.

Since November, 12 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood have died

US Army soldier based at Fort Hood is found dead - making him the TWELFTH GI from the Texas base to die in the last two months as investigators probe bizarre cluster of suicides, accidents and fatal fights at the base
Daily Mail
By Ariel Zilber For Dailymail.com
14 January 2017
Army investigates death of Sgt. Alex Mathew Dean Taylor, 23
Taylor, an aviation operations specialist, was found dead at his post in Fort Hood
Since November, 12 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood have died
Three were killed in a suicide bomb attack at Bagram air base in Afghanistan

Others died in accidents and from gunshot wounds
The United States Army launched an investigation on Friday into the mysterious death of a soldier who was found unresponsive at his post on the Fort Hood base – the latest in a string of nearly a dozen deaths of soldiers serving in the massive Texas encampment.
Sgt. Alex Mathew Dean Taylor, 23, a soldier assigned to the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion, was found dead while on duty, according to Stars and Stripes.

Taylor had enlisted as an aviation operations specialist.

The army released no information about the circumstances of Taylor's death.
read more here

UPSATE
FROM FOX NEWS
Army, local police probe recent mystery deaths of 11 Fort Hood soldiers
January 15, 2017
The Army and local police are investigating the deaths of 11 Fort Hood soldiers who have died on and off the large Texas base in the past three months under mysterious circumstances, according to reports.

The most recent death involved Sgt. Alex Taylor, 23, of Texas City, Texas, who was found Wednesday unresponsive at his job at Fort Hood.

The Army’s Criminal Investigations Command is probing Taylor’s death, Stars and Stripes reported Friday.

“At this point in the investigative process we do not suspect foul play, but have not completely ruled it out while we conduct a complete and thorough death investigation,” Criminal Investigations spokesman Christopher Grey told the paper.

Fort Hood said Taylor’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Aviation Badge and Air Assault Badge, among others. He was part of the 15th Military Intelligence Battalition and enlisted as an aviation operations.

Taylor is at least the 11th Fort Hood soldier to have died in the U.S. since Oct. 12.

Yet at the bottom of the article it has,
Three soldiers from Fort Hood died November 12 in a suicide bomb attack at Bagram air base in Afghanistan: Staff Sgt. John Perry, 30; Private First Class Tyler Iubelt, 20; and Sgt. 1st Class Allan Brown, 46. Brown died of injuries suffered in the attack at Walter Reade National Medical Center in Bethesda Dec. 6, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

The Army said Sgt. Douglas Riney, who was assigned to Fort Hood, died in Afghanistan Oct. 20 in a firefight with the enemy.
In other words, there is nothing to investigate on those deaths. So is this attention getting headline totally misleading? Weren't the facts as they really are worthy of the attention?

Combat PTSD? They Have Salsa For That

Houston Salsa Congress attracts veterans seeking stress relief
Focus on the dance helps alleviate some PTSD symptoms
Houston Cronicle
By Katherine Blunt
January 14, 2017
"You have to know how to lock into a moment and be OK with everything going on around you," Chris Fahey
Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Staff
Houston Salsa Congress workshop participant Harrison Bohanan follows instructor
Franklin Liranzo's dance moves to warm up before a class Saturday in Houston.
Shoulders as loose as his hips, Franklin Liranzo twisted and shimmied to percussive Latin music at the head of a crowded dance floor.

A high twirl of his finger had 50 dancers spinning in place. A downward flick brought them slinking to the ground.

"I hope you're warm," he exclaimed as the dancers caught their breath.

Liranzo, a skilled dancer and former U.S. Marine, led the group through a warm-up Saturday at the Houston Salsa Congress, a four-day series of workshops and performances at the Westin Hotel in Memorial City. He is one of many veterans who uses salsa and the intense focus its requires to alleviate some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The congress, expected to attract more than 2,000 dancers, instructors and spectators, is an annual event run by Houston Salsa Dancers, a nonprofit organization that uses the proceeds to provide scholarships for underprivileged Houston teens. It features salsa enthusiasts of every skill level from around the world.
read more here