Tuesday, March 13, 2018
American Legion ‘Storms the Hill’ to Talk Veteran’s Issues
ALBANY – Combating veteran suicide is a top priority for The American Legion Department of New York, legionnaires told legislators March 13 at an annual legislative breakfast and in visits to Assembly and Senate offices.
Prior to “storming the Hill” with a veteran’s message, as Department Commander Rena Nessler charged the Legion Family, she and Rehabilitation Field Coordinator R. Michael Suter recognized Dr. Frank Bourke for his ground-breaking clinical trials in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
They presented him with a check for $25,000 for his Corning, NY-based Research and Recognition Project.
Using the RTM (Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories) Protocol, the project conducted a pilot study and three replication studies to verity the more than 90 percent success rate.
“We really have a treatment for PTSD that works,” Dr. Bourke told the breakfast attendees.
“Over 90 percent” of the veterans they treated no longer have “PTSD or the symptoms.”
As one veteran who was treated put it: “You still have the memories. You lose the pain” associated with traumatic experiences.
The next step, Dr. Bourke noted, is to train counselors to reach more veterans across the state and country.
Also addressing the Legion legislative breakfast were Sen. Thomas D. Croci, chairman of the Senate veterans, homeland security and military affairs committee, and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, chairman of the Assembly veterans affairs committee.
Senator Croci thanked the American Legion for bringing priority veteran’s issues to the attention of the Legislature and the governor’s office. “It makes our job easier.”
He said the state budget would maintain the level of support for veteran’s causes, and perhaps go further.
Referring to himself and colleagues such as Assemblyman DenDekker, “Our philosophy is, when it comes to veterans in the State of New York, politics stop at the door.”
In fact, he said he would like to see more veterans live, work and raise families in New York.
“This should be the most veteran-friendly state in the country.”