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This Veteran Is Helping Others Fight PTSD — With Horses


The following is an excerpt from Catharine Smith | September 22, 2017 | Huffingtonpost.com |

Sam Rhodes is no stranger to the toll that war can take on a person’s mental health.

The retired Army command sergeant major knows that 20 veterans die by suicide every day. He has thought of taking his own life and has struggled with a sense of hopelessness since returning from combat in Iraq in 2005 and being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I spent 30 months in combat. It affected me more than most,” Rhodes, 56, told HuffPost. “I considered taking my own life, and I was getting ready to do that. I’m still working through that. It’s a tough battle.”

In 2008, Rhodes found that working with horses helped him cope with these feelings and gave him a new sense of inner peace and purpose ― and he wanted to share that with others affected by PTSD.

He now runs a nonprofit called Warrior Outreach, which offers free programs that teach veterans and their loved ones the basics of horse riding and care. He operates out of his ranch in Fortson, Georgia, about 30 miles from Fort Benning Army Base.

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