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Gear Donations for PTSD Veteran Program
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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
May 24, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hi All-

I'm helping to facilitate the support for a group of veterans in Sheridan, Wyoming at a Veteran Affairs program being treated for PTSD.

One of the vets in the program is a regular climbing partner (Ryan Bogus) and he is taking many of the vets out rock climbing during their spare time in the program (weekends). I know he has found climbing to be helpful therapy for dealing with PTSD and certainly we can all understand the therapeutic aspects of climbing...

He is looking for some large and extra large harnesses- they haven't asked for anything more, but I imagine some rock shoes in the 10-13 range, a few lockers and belay devices would be much appreciated. Used gear is fine as long as it is safe.

I wanted to put out the 'call for help' to our generous climbing community- many of whom are understanding of the need for veteran support.

This is not a political message, so if you have any comments that aren't supportive, please keep them to yourselves.

cheers,
Eli


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By Nick Wilder
Site Landlord
From The Bubble
May 24, 2009
Personal Photo

I've got a safe rope & some half-decent shoes. Let me know where to drop them off.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
May 24, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hey Nick-
Thanks for the gear offer-

Does anyone have a good drop-off point in the Front Range (preferably Boulder) that could be used for this project?

I live in Estes but make it down to Boulder weekly for pick-ups?


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By AJS
From Boulder, CO
May 24, 2009
In the sea of Cortez - Baja California, Mexico

Cool idea Eli!

I have too many pairs of shoes and could donate a pair or maybe two!


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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
May 24, 2009
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

I've chatted with Eli - and locals can drop your goodies at my place -- near Table Mesa and Broadway.

Shoot me a PM, and I'll respond with my address and directions.

Cheers!


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
May 24, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Hey all,
I have spoken with Eli and I am accepting/holding gear donations here in Louisville (Just of of S. Boulder Rd.) for the Veterans, along with a couple of other places in N. and S. Boulder area. I can be reached at (303)727-0769 to arrange an appropriate drop off time. Thank you all for your support.
-Zak Knight

(EDIT) Eli, more short clips on youtube, under username AmIEvil121981.


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By Tom Halicki
From Boulder, CO
May 24, 2009

Drop point #2 is 2815 16th Street in Boulder, just east of Vic's/Ideal Market off Balsam. If no one is home, just leave the gear on the porch (ideally in a box/bag) and we'll store it until it heads north.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
May 24, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hi All-

It looks like we now have four drop-off points in the Boulder/Louisville areas, including the Eldorado Canyon Visitor Center, Tom's place in north Boulder, Avery's place in south Boulder, and Zak's in Louisville. Hopefully those are enough options for those who are looking to make donations.

I am planning on picking-up all the gear on Friday, May 29th to get it in the mail by the 30th, so if you are planning on donating some shoes, harness, carabiners, etc., please do so by that time.

And I think that I have enough ropes already so we are covered for that item.

Thanks again!
Eli


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By djoseph
May 24, 2009

Eli Helmuth wrote:
Hi All- I'm helping to facilitate the support for a group of veterans in Sheridan, Wyoming at a Veteran Affairs program being treated for PTSD. One of the vets in the program is a regular climbing partner (Ryan Bogus) and he is taking many of the vets out rock climbing during their spare time


Hey Eli and all... thanks for your work. As a psychotherapist who occasionally works with vets, I wanted to introduce you to a few other contacts/resources in the area. Perhaps someone would like to start a similar program in the Boulder/Denver areas...?

People House in Denver has a "Veterans Reintegration Program" run by Rick Beaver. See peoplehouse.org/services/vets.htm. Rick is always open to hearing new ideas for contacting/supporting vets.

Ray Meyers in Boulder runs Veterans Helping Veterans Now, which offers a variety of (non-clinical) support services for vets. See vhvnow.org/.

Rick and Ray are highly connected with the vet community in the Boulder/Denver area, and could probably offer additional leads. I don't know Ray yet, but if anyone talks to Rick feel free to mention my name.

Thanks for the great work!

- Dan Joseph Cavicchio


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
May 24, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Our friend Mike Caputo (another of Ryan's climbing partners) is accepting donations in the Ft. Collins area. Mike can be reached at (970)231-4657. Thanks again!
-Zak


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
May 26, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Bump.


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By Joshua Balke
From Colorado Springs
May 26, 2009
Ingraham glacier

Hey Eli. What organization is this? I've been looking to either start or get involved with a program doing this exact thing. I can't spare gear but I have time to donate. Do me a favor and post up or PM some contact info or a website for the organization heading this. There is also a good chance I can get a hold of much of the equipment that you would need through some of my other contacts with outdoor rec organizations free of charge.
Josh


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
May 26, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hey Josh,

This particular group of vets are doing rehab in the Sheridan, Wyoming Veteran Affairs Program. Ryan Bogus who is facilitating the climbing is currently doing this informally every weekend on the nearby crags as the program runs M-F, 8-5.

Certainly any and all gear would be appreciated by these vets. From what Ryan has said, it sounds like these types of programs will be expanding or at least adding more climbing and positive outdoor related activities- I'll be glad to put you in touch with him and there is also the post above by Dan Cavicchio who has some more local contacts.

Thanks!
Eli


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By Joshua Balke
From Colorado Springs
May 27, 2009
Ingraham glacier

Thanks Eli, If you could PM me Ryans contact info would be great. I'm out of CO till July but when I return will be doing some travel up his way. As a matter of fact I might be able to offer a shuttle for those donations if it hasn't already been done yet.


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By AJS
From Boulder, CO
Jun 10, 2009
In the sea of Cortez - Baja California, Mexico

Bump...

Eli (or Eli's helpers), any updates?

-Adam


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By Mike McNeil
From Spearfish, South Dakota
Jun 10, 2009

I would also be interested in contact info for the group. I currently work with a student vetrans group at BHSU in Spearfish, SD. We have two VA's in the area and a lot of climbing with in an hour. Thanks Mike


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
Jun 10, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Hey all,

Much thanks to the folks who donated gear, the veterans were really excited to have shoes and harnesses that fit. I drove up to Sheridan this weekend to drop off the donations collected in the Boulder area, thanks Tom! We had fun camping, climbing, and hiking in the beautiful Tongue River Canyon. Sweet limestone, and lots of room for development. Wet conditions on Sunday morning left us to go check out the 4 MILE DEEP cave! Although, improper clothing and wet conditions kept us in the first 1/2 mile or so. Be ready to do your part if you go there and help pick up a little bit. It seems many Wyoming folk do not hold the outdoors in such regard as many here in the F.R. Unfortunate, but all in all, it was a great time in a fantastic (GREEN) setting.

As of right now the program is simply Ryan bringing different groups from the Sheridan V.A. There seems to be quite an interest about turning their recreational outings in to a legitimate program, which I spoke with Ryan about this past weekend. For right now however, he is more focused on getting better, which he is. It sounds like he wants to concentrate more on "work" once he gets back to Colorado.

There are many areas where a climbing "therapy" could be applicable, apparently a V.A. in N. Dakota has heard about the outings and wants to start a program there. From what I have come to understand about P.T.S.D., the disorder involves chemicals in the body (adrenaline, endorphins, etc.) and the way in which they react to stimuli. With P.T.S.D. your brain can go in to fight or flight mode very easily, because it has learned (in combat) that it needs to react in extreme ways to stimuli, as the stimuli is likely going to be just as severe, even in a more mundane situation. The treatment involves re-learning how to deal with your body reacting to situations, both casual and dangerous. Here is where climbing fits in quite well; heights + instability = an extreme situation. A persons brain reacts how it will, however it is more about learning how to cope with your brains reactions to different stimuli. I am not a professional, this is just my understanding of the condition.

Anyhow, the veterans in Sheridan thank you for your support, I can vouch that your donations were well received by some happy people. Even those not there for P.T.S.D. are happy just to be able to get away and do something different.

Cheers,
-Zak


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Apr 26, 2011
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

I just came across this thread through another one. Did the program continue? And, is there still a need for gear? I've got a few pair of shoes and a harness that I'd be happy to donate.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Apr 26, 2011
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hey CD-
As far as I know, this informal program set-up by a friend while undergoing treatment in Sheridan has not been continued due to his finishing the PTSD program. I know that there are other groups working to assist vets and if I can track down any specifics I'll post them here.
cheers,
Eli


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