Leaders, veterans and family members behind the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation want to change the post-traumatic stress discussion to an effort focused on post-traumatic growth.
The foundation is launching a new program that cultivates and facilitates post-traumatic growth in warriors coming home from war. The program will get a funding boost to fuel expansion from the Sept. 30 Drafts & Drums on the Drag event.
“It’s all about reintegrating back into society,” says Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation board member and veteran Mikey Traugutt. “Now that you’ve led in combat, why not come home and lead in the community and in business.”
The Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation is working with the Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Virginia, to bring the Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program to Washington state. The Virginia program is the nation’s first nonclinical program to help those with post-traumatic stress disorder, enabling them to transform times of struggle into strength and growth.
Taught by a blended team of trained combat veterans and civilian instructors who have walked the road from struggle to strength, small groups of veterans participate in an intensive, seven-day training retreat.
“Trauma doesn’t discriminate,” says Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation President Leslie Mayne. “Most of the programs start with what is wrong with you. The Warrior PATHH program is a totally different way to respond. It has transformed the lives of participants, helping them reclaim their lives.
“We’re not waiting for the Veterans Administration to solve this problem for our warriors. Our broader community needs to be part of the solution now. We need our warriors back home in our communities,” she says.
Mayne and Traugutt have been to the Virginia retreat center to see first-hand the power that the program has in transforming the lives of warriors returning home.
“For me, it was life-changing,” Traugutt says of his recent participation in a Warrior PATHH retreat at Boulder Crest in Virginia.
He attended the retreat with the intent to become a trainer in the program, continuing his service to fellow veterans, but ended up getting much more from the experience in his own journey after active duty military life.
“Any veteran that goes through the program is definitely going to come out with something that makes their life better,” Traugutt says. “When they come out better, their families are better and their communities are better.”
The first retreat offered by the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation will start in late September at a rented retreat center not far from the foundation’s home in Gig Harbor. Foundation leaders hope to eventually host the retreats at their own retreat center.
Part of the proceeds from the Sept. 30 music and beer festival will go toward funding additional retreats in 2018. In addition to the classic cars, food and end-of-summer fun, the festival will provide a stage for the foundation to raise awareness of their new program and inspire hope. Foundation leaders will be on hand at the festival to share their story.
“We’re honored to help provide a broader stage for the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation and the important work they’re doing for our community’s warriors,” says event organizer Brian Nilsen of Bremerton Motorsports Park and Circuit of the Northwest.
The event features three bands, eight local breweries and a vintage car show in an open-air festival fundraiser on the Bremerton drag strip. The Sept. 30 event runs from 2 to 8 p.m. and kicks off with an opening ceremony saluting the community’s soldiers.
There will be craft beer pours from eight local breweries and live-music performances from three distinctly Northwest bands: Knucklehead, a classic rock power-trio based out of Bremerton; Ben Union, a Seattle-based band featuring R&B, soul and alternative rock music; and Hell’s Belles, an all-female AC/DC tribute band from Seattle.
The event takes places on the Bremerton Motorsports Park drag strip, which is located on an inactive runway adjacent to Bremerton National Airport. The runway was used by the U.S. Navy during World War II and became a home to auto sports in Kitsap County in 1960.
To buy tickets to Drafts & Drums on the Drag, go to www.draftsdrumsondrag.com.
To learn more about the Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation, go to www.PTSDfoundation.org.