Event raises awareness of resources available for America’s veterans

Local News

PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (WMBD) — Serving people who served our country, Sunday Pour Bros Craft Taproom in Peoria Heights celebrated veterans.

The Fourth Armed Forces Day hosted at Pour Bros connects local veterans and their families. The organizers say events like these can help veterans with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD).

Local veterans gathered Sunday for drinks and conversation; the veterans connected with service organizations in the Peoria Area like the American Legion. Scott Corsaut who helped organize the event said it was meant to be a family-friendly event.

“People have their kids and dogs here and it’s just been a fantastic day,” Corsaut said.

Corsaut said while many might be familiar with organizations like the American Legion or V.F.W, they aren’t the only organizations out there that can help with the disorder. There’s also Freedom Paws Service Dogs.

“They do incredible work in the area for our veterans and first responders,” Corsaut said.

Freedom Paws Service Dogs is a non-profit based in Chillicothe that provides service dogs to veterans and first responders who have PTSD for free. The charity’s CEO Corey James said all they need is a doctor’s note and proof of service.

“No one’s paid on our staff from me as the CEO to all the way down. Anything donated goes right back into the cause,” James said.

James said their dogs are more than just an everyday companion or support animal and said they can help veterans with mild to more severe forms of PTSD.

“Some of our veterans don’t want to go in the house until the house is cleared and we can have the dog go in and clear the house for them,” James said. “We have dogs that can go in and turn on the lights for them before they enter the house.”

Corsaut said he hopes with event like these, veterans are made aware that they aren’t the only ones suffering and there’s resources available to help them through their struggles.

“We hear from veterans they just weren’t aware of these different organizations that are here to help them, so it’s vitally important to get the word out to veterans and their families as well,” Corsaut said.

James wants veterans to know if they are feeling depressed reaching out to them or other organizations is crucial.

“If you are a veteran in need and you are thinking thoughts of suicide please give us a call because we’ll also put you in touch with the right people,” James said. “If you’re just looking for someone to talk to, you can always call us as well.”

To learn more about the Freedom Paws Service Dogs visit their website.

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