New program helping veterans find 'Victory Over Trauma'

(WEAU) – It’s estimated there are more than 22 million veterans in this country and many of them have to deal with a number of issues as they adapt to a different life back home.

The new program called “Victory Over Trauma” in Eau Claire is a collaboration of Soft Landing Transitional Services, a home for safe and sober living, Trinity Equestrian Center and REACH, a self employment service.

It has taken nearly two years to develop, but through a developmental grant it’s already helping veterans recover from trauma.

"It’s really helped all avenues of my life completely,” said U.S Air Force Veteran Ray Lenzen.

45 year-old Ray Lenzen is just one of many other veterans seeing success through ‘Victory Over Trauma.’

"I knew Toni's program was growing and our agency REACH was looking at an opportunity to serve veterans,” said Maralene Strom, Project Director.

"We connected with Trinity and project REACH and that provided a real comprehensive program and we saw good results from the people involved," said Steven Ashmore, Soft Landing Transitional Services.

While Ray has been a victim to alcoholism, he finds spending time with horses is helpful.

After only a month and a half he found a job at Anderson Windows and is adapting to his new life.

“Right now I'm taking everything in, dealing with different issues as they come up,” said Ray.

Once a week, program leaders meet one on one with a veteran and each other.

"They have given us so much, and so far beyond what they should have ever been called to give, it’s truly our honor to help them back," said Toni Mattson of Trinity Equestrian Center.

Veterans will spend about 3-4 weeks at each step before moving onto the next bite of the program what leaders refer to as a sandwich.

"We have designed this program to be a collaborative and to intersect each other rather than being separate, so that we can serve these veterans much more effectively," said Maralene.

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