Coalition to Salute America's Heros

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and Give an Hour Launch Returning Hero Counseling Network to Help Troops & Families With the Psychological and Emotional Effects of War

In a joint effort, Give an Hour and CSAH will offer confidential and complimentary counseling services to veterans and their families provided by licensed mental health professionals


Ossining, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/25/2007 -- The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (CSAH), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping severely wounded War on Terror veterans and their families rebuild their lives, today announced a partnership with Give an Hour, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing a national network of licensed mental health volunteers to respond to acute and chronic needs within our society. The program, dubbed Returning Hero Counseling Network will provide therapy specifically aimed at meeting the counseling needs of returning U.S. troops and their families who are affected by the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The network of licensed mental health professionals that are to join the program will Give an Hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families for as long as it takes.

Give an Hour continues to recruit volunteer providers and will offer a variety of training opportunities to registered counselors. Connections between troops, their families and providers are already being made through the network, underscoring the need for such services.

CSAH is providing a grant to Give an Hour to develop the Returning Heroes Counseling Network. CSAH will handle recruiting and qualifying service members who need help, while Give an Hour will manage the professional network and specific counselor training.

“Our military leaders are well aware of the human cost of this campaign. Indeed, they are attempting to address the psychological needs of the troops through a variety of programs within the military culture. Unfortunately, the tremendous number of people affected makes it impossible for the military to respond adequately to the mental health needs in its greater community. Moreover, returning combat veterans suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are not routinely seeking the mental health treatment they need,” says Barbara V. Romberg, PhD., founder and executive director of Give an Hour.

“The Returning Hero Counseling Network falls under our Family Support Network platform. It addresses the needs of service members who have been severely wounded and those affected with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and also the family members and caregivers of those troops,” says Ray Clifford, executive director for CSAH. “Partnering with Give an Hour was logical. The combined strengths and resources of our organizations make possible this vital service,” he adds.

Corporal Justin Bajema (Ret.), 26, Marines, was on his second tour in Iraq with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2004 when his vehicle was attacked by insurgents. He suffered severe injuries to his legs, including IED shrapnel to both lower extremities and has been diagnosed with PTSD. He is now a national spokesperson for CSAH is excited to see that organizations like CSAH and Give an Hour are stepping up to address these issues.

Cpl. Bajema (Ret.) says, “So many troops are coming back with battle scars that aren’t necessarily physical scars. The families and caregivers are suffering just as much, because when their loved ones come home injured, it’s hard to cope with the drastic changes. Disorders like PTSD and TBI when left untreated have serious, debilitating effects on the health of injured troops and their families. I am so thankful for the many mental health professionals who are volunteering their time to help these service members and their families readjust to life on the homefront.”

There are more than 400,000 mental health professionals in the US and many of them looking for a way to help returning troops. Therefore, this program has enormous potential.

The formation of the Returning Hero Counseling Network will be celebrated at the 2007 Road to Recovery Conference and Tribute in Orlando and will be fully operational in January 2008.

About the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes:
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that offers several programs to assist disabled veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan: Wounded Hero Emergency Financial Relief (provides urgent financial assistance to disabled veterans), Homes for Wounded Heroes (offers nearly cost-free, new or renovated disability adapted homes to men and women), Hire A Hero (reaches out through a network of organizations to help prepare and place motivated, qualified veterans in quality jobs), Family Support Network (offers special services to help relieve financial and emotional burdens facing heroes and their families), and the Road to Recovery Conferences (all-expense paid educational and service events for wounded servicemen and servicewomen and their families). For more information please visit the website at

About Give an Hour:
Give an Hour is a non profit organization dedicated to developing and maintaining a national network of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. The first target population is the U.S. Troops and families who are being affected by the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you are a mental health provider and are interested in donating an hour of your time each week or if you are in need of counseling, please visit