Memorial Day Special: Be Connected, Therapy Dogs, Vetdrenaline
May 28, 2018
During our special Memorial Day episode, “Arizona Horizon” looks back on some of the stories covered involving helping veterans including the Be Connected program, therapy dogs and Vetdrenaline.
In late February we spoke with the Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Service Wanda Wright and Arizona Director for AARP Dana Kennedy about the Be Connected program. The program has been active for about a year now, and has successfully matched over 1,200 veterans, service members and their families with mental health services.
“It’s a suicide program that benefits veterans, service members and their families,” says Wanda Wright, director of Arizona Department of Veteran Services. “The idea is that we can resource any of those individuals to provide resources early before something terrible happens down the road and hopelessness happens.”
Dogs have claimed the title “man’s best friend” for a reason. Not only are they fun to play with, but they’re intelligent enough to look over their owner’s health and provide them with daily assistance. Through the American Service Animal Society, veterans are able to be paired with a dog that’s best suited to help them. We talk to the founder and veterans about how the dogs changed their lives.
“There is an amazing transformation from the veterans from the first time they walk into the training center to the time they walk out with their dog,” says Gerad Claseman, Navy veteran and founder of the American Service Animal Society.
“Arizona Horizon” took to the race track in April to meet with the founder of Vetdrenaline and talk to veterans about how the thrill of an adrenaline rush is able to help them manage their PTSD. Not only does it supply vets with that rush, but it’s a place where they can regain the sense of camaraderie.
“It helps you address the things you miss from the service like teamwork, camaraderie and that adrenaline of having a mission and moving forward and doing something,” Marine veteran Joanna Sweatt says. “Civilian life just can’t fill the gap.”