LOCAL NEWS

Utah Program Helping Veterans Win War Against PTSD

Aug 17, 2020, 8:21 PM | Updated: 8:26 pm

PARK CITY, Utah – An estimated 800,000 American troops struggle with PTSD after deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq over the last two decades, and a Utah program called Heroes Haven is working to help those veterans.

The impacts of PTSD can also be heightened during the pandemic for some soldiers.

“The honor, that purpose and sense of accomplishment,” said Zach Howser, citing the most important aspects of his six years of service in the army.

The Provo native was in ROTC class in high school when the attacks on 9/11 stunned the country, and he decided that he had to serve.

Before long, he was a combat engineer, hunting and clearing roadside bombs in Iraq.

“We saw a lot of combat,” said Howser. “There was a lot of weapons exchanged. There was a lot of improvised explosive devices (IED) going off.”

His vehicle took several hits, and he did not feel adequately trained for the aftermath when the nightmares started.

“There’s that pride aspect where we don’t want to ask for that help,” said Howser. “We’re the ones who are supposed to be tough enough to go do that and deal with it.”

He contacted Heroes Haven to get help.

“My children deserve who I used to be,” he said.

This week, he was on a mission for healing with a dozen other Utah combat veterans at the National Ability Center in Park City. They’re soul-searching, doing therapy and learning psychological tools to take home.

Veterans participate in activities with Heroes Haven in Park City.

“We’re healing and learning to take responsibility for trauma that has happened in our lives,” said Frank DeVito, founder of Heroes Haven.

Trauma related to their lives at war, and at home.

DeVito said he takes a ceremonious approach, including a self-discovery walk at a labyrinth, where the veterans symbolically leave their combat demons behind.

“We bring back things that are not ready to be received by the people who sent us there,” DeVito said.

There is no initiation that shows troops how to handle that and deal with those issues back at home, he said.

DeVito’s group has developed initiations to help the troops cross a threshold in healing.

“We’re bringing them home with all that they brought home with them, so that they can assimilate it properly,” he said.

The therapy, meditation and group activities, like walking the labyrinth in Park City, are all part of breaking down the barriers to recovery. Ultimately, each of the soldiers has to do the self-discovery and internal work on their own.

“It’s helping a lot,” said Luda Siliga, a soldier with the Utah National Guard who did two tours of duty in Afghanistan. “When I came back from my first deployment, we didn’t have this. We had a behavioral health guy who said ‘Here’s my card. If you need help just call me.’”

Siliga is still a member of the Utah National Guard.

Three years ago, he said he was not willing to ask for help. Now, because he is honest with his family and himself, he is doing the work to get better.

“It is OK to ask for help,” he said. “It is OK to lean on other guys, and you’re not the only one. There are other guys who deal with the same situations.”

They are helping each other just as they did on the battlefield.

“You’re integrating greatness back into the community,” said DeVito. “They are going to help shepherd and lead children and men and women into the future.”

Reach out for help with PTSD at theheroeshaven.com.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Want to rent out your home for the NBA All-Star weekend? Here’s what you need to know

No question local businesses and hotel operators are excited about all the money the NBA All-Star game will bring in. But as Matt Gephardt found, regular Joe's are also capitalizing — and maybe you can, too.
1 day ago
Chopper 5 flies over the site of a new golf course by Tiger Woods set to open near Heber and Park C...
Alex Cabrero

New golf course designed by Tiger Woods set to open in 2025 near Heber City, Park City

A new golf course set to come to the Park City area is being designed by Tiger Woods. While it may be exciting, it has a lot of people wondering about the water it will take to run it.
1 day ago
...
Shelby Lofton

Utah lawmakers discussing multiple domestic violence bills to protect victims

A domestic violence amendment bill — SB117 — has made it one step closer to reaching the governor's desk.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO...
Pat Reavy

Utah sex offender charged with kidnapping teen girl from Arizona he met on TikTok

A West Valley man previously convicted of sexually extorting a teen girl is now charged with driving to Arizona to take a different teen girl back to his home in Utah where he sexually assaulted her.
1 day ago
(North View Fire District)...
Madison Swenson

Cars crash into Utah building and residence in separate incidents

Two buildings in Pleasant View were damaged Tuesday after cars crashed into them.
1 day ago
...
Shara Park

Raise the Future chosen as Team Giannis’ beneficiary for NBA All-Star Game

As the NBA All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City approaches, several local charities have been chosen as beneficiaries, including Raise the Future, KSL TV’s Wednesday's Child partner.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Utah Program Helping Veterans Win War Against PTSD