When Brannan Vine of Mobile married her husband nearly 12 years ago, she married her high school sweetheart; she embarked her life with her best friend. Caleb would later join the Army in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 and serve his country for five years in the U.S. Army.
Brannan is proud of her husband’s service and the father and husband he is today. But Caleb is also a veteran, one who is living life after combat, which includes post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
It’s estimated that 440,000 – 770,000 combat veterans who have served since Sept. 11 live with PTSD. The statistics for those who suffer with TBI are still emerging as new cases are diagnosed, but the figure is estimated at 264,000 – 440,000.
These injuries are often invisible, leaving no outward sign of the damage done not only to the veterans, but also to their families.
Searching for support for her husband and family, Brannan found a lack of information.
“All the information given at that point was very clinical and didn’t give real world information about what PTSD looks like, or what TBI looks like,” Brannan said. “For us and lots of other families you can almost miss the forest for the trees.”
Brannan got in touch with an organization on the west coast called Vietnam Veterans Wives and spoke with the group’s founder, who helped guide her as she began her own organization, Family of a Vet.
For more of this story, see the Dec. 8 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online.