Chuck, I know you’re a big supporter of our military. With so many coming home with post-traumatic stress disorder, what do you think we can do to help them all? – “Remembering America’s Best This Memorial Day” in Maine
Combat veteran Kryn Miner, 44, served 11 deployments in seven years. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury after a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2010 threw him into a wall. It was one of 19 blasts he endured over two decades of service to his country.
On April 29, Kryn died after being shot by his teenage son, who was acting in defense of himself, his mother and his siblings because Kryn had threatened to kill them and pulled out a gun. Prosecutors ruled that it was a justified shooting, absolving the teen from facing charges. It was a tragic ending to a stellar military career. But according to his wife, Amy, it wouldn’t have happened if the U.S. government were as eager to care for veterans as it is to deploy them overseas in battle.
The 39-year-old widow explained to The Associated Press: “The truth of the matter is if we can’t take care of our veterans we shouldn’t be sending them off to war. It doesn’t make sense. Because they’re coming back and this is the result and it’s happening more and more.”
Kryn was laid to rest May 2. But other wounded warriors don’t have to be if the U.S. government cares for America’s best as it cared for them on the battlefields of war.
About 15 percent of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Though estimates are lower for Gulf War vets, the percentage is even higher for Vietnam War vets.
Despite being stereotyped as a military-related illness, PTSD plagues a broad range of citizens (3.5 percent of U.S. adults) who have been impacted by personal assault or other types of trauma. PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as “an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which there was the potential for or actual occurrence of grave physical harm. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, and military combat. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal, may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.”
The power of PTSD can be readily seen when one looks at before-and-after images of the person who was assaulted. For example, Kryn was once physically and mentally as sharp as they come. He even “completed multiple endurance races, triathlons and obstacle races. These things brought him a lot of happiness,” according to his obituary.
It went on to explain: “Kryn was ‘that person,’ the one who could walk into a place full of people he didn’t know and an hour later he was friends with every single one of them; he just had that special ‘thing.’ He has friends around the world that he has inspired, whether it be with his amazing stories, his infectious yet mischievous smile, or his awesome charisma. Kryn was an amazing husband and father. He loved them with all of his being.”
Kryn’s latest mission was to help fellow veterans know they are not alone – through his own foundation, the Forgotten Fallen, and also the Lone Survivor Foundation.
America’s best put everything on the line for us. The very least that we can do for them is ensure that they have proper health care when they return from the battlefields.
But if the U.S. government won’t properly care for every last service member who risked it all, then we the people can – one at a time. Let us start with those in our own families, neighborhoods and communities. Extend (another) hand of gratitude and express your appreciation for those who serve our country. Befriend a veteran. Help veterans’ families. Give to groups such as the Wounded Warrior Project.
And if you or someone you know is being affected by PTSD, you can contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 800-273-8255 or by texting 838255. You also can chat confidentially with someone at VeteranCrisisLine.net. Don’t be afraid to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number is 800-273-8255. There are more resources at PTSD.va.gov.
And for those so inclined, you can help Amy Miner and her children – Lalaina, 18, Macintyre, 15, Trinity, 11, and Piper, 7 – by sending donations to the Miner Family Fund. Go to the family’s YouCaring.com page.
Write to Chuck Norris with your questions about health and fitness. Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at ChuckNorrisNews.blogspot.com.