Podcasts

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “Serving In Silence” | Dawn Strobel

Dawn Strobel grew up in Milwaukee and Cedarburg, WI. Her parents divorced when she was young. Dawns father is a Vietnam veteran who never spoke of his military experience and who Dawn did not have much interaction with while growing up. She would come to know him later in life. Dawn’s mother remarried and yet she and her mother did not have a close mother daughter relationship. With the normal expectations of honor and a place to fit in Dawn enlisted in the United States Army knowing she would have to hide that she was gay. No amount of written English can describe the profound devastation, dishonor and depression she would experience in both military and civilian careers for over thirteen years. “I was in such a suicidal state that I couldn’t live, but I couldn’t die because I had kids. I was stuck in between”.

Only in her own words can this be described and only in her voice can we hear this indomitable spirit that has taken Dawn back into her second career in the the military to so honorably and courageously work to complete what she endeavored to achieve over a decade ago. In addition Dawn has the love and support of her wife and children who she loves so much.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Indomitable spirit keeps looking and creates the new path.

Mark was born and raised in central Wisconsin to a large family. Mark is the eldest male child of
14 total siblings – 8 boys and 6 girls. Mark graduated from Necedah High School in 1998 and
joined the Marines in 1999 where he served 8 years of active duty and achieved the rank of
Sergeant. Mark deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 during operation phantom fury. Mark exited
the service in 2006 and subsequently attended school at UW Green Bay where he completed
his bachelor’s degree. Mark has worked in the veteran community since 2012 in both non-profit
and state government. Mark is presently the development director for Feast of Crispian and is
on his last semester of his master’s program at UWM.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

He turned from his father at the bus depot and walked into a life he couldn’t have imagined.

Mark was born and raised in central Wisconsin to a large family. Mark is the eldest male child of
14 total siblings – 8 boys and 6 girls. Mark graduated from Necedah High School in 1998 and
joined the Marines in 1999 where he served 8 years of active duty and achieved the rank of
Sergeant. Mark deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 during operation phantom fury. Mark exited
the service in 2006 and subsequently attended school at UW Green Bay where he completed
his bachelor’s degree. Mark has worked in the veteran community since 2012 in both non-profit
and state government. Mark is presently the development director for Feast of Crispian and is
on his last semester of his master’s program at UWM.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Bob Bach on The True Lens of War & Keeping the Will to Survive

In part one, Bob Bach joins us today to share his experiences while serving his country through the Vietnam War era. He discusses how television and movies often glamorize the true colors of war, often leading to unrealistic expectations for young military recruits. He shares his experiences of being on patrol while under enemy fire and how coping techniques like controlling fears and anxiety played a role in surviving the Vietnam War. He also shares his experiences of returning home after serving in the military, how his expectations differed from reality, and why he felt disoriented and confused when transitioning back to civilian life.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

His dedication to fellow soldiers on the battlefields he provides for them in transition!

Peter Boruski was adopted into a loving family with a strong military history.

Honored by this history and influenced by it Peter enlisted in the U.S, Army at age 17, and began active duty just after turning 18. Peter had enlisted in the infantry and that is where he served on his tour in Afghanistan. Primarily walking Point and sweeping the roads ahead for deadly improvised explosive devices (IED) Peter had the responsibility to keep his platoon safe from these IED’s while on missions.

On six occasions Peter experienced IED explosions at very close range resulting in Traumatic
Brain Injuries (TBI) and other injuries earning him the Purple Heart. Devoted to the safety of his platoon Peter would find it difficult to leave Afghanistan at the end of his tour.
  Returning home life was not as it had been before the war. Old friendships were not the same, past interests no longer had appeal, relationships seemed impossible to establish.
Poor sleep became a problem soothed with alcohol and along with anger other reactions surfaced that stood in the way of happiness, peace of mind and soul.
  Aware he needed help to resolve these reactionsPeter took the initiative seeking out the
County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO). This would led to an introduction to a counselor, himself a veteran, at the Vets Center. This was life changing and started Peter on a road that now embraced hope and resolution. In time Peter would prepare himself to become a Peer Support Specialist and dedicate his life to providing hope and guidance for Veterans experiencing similar challenges in transition from military to civilian life and culture. Peter follows this passion today through Peer Support he provides at the NHAW R&R House in Pewaukee Wisconsin.

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Resolving his traumas provides todays healing for others | Victor Kilpatrick Jr.

Victor Kilpatrick was born in East Chicago Indiana. His parents were loving yet strict disciplined leaders providing good healthy structure. A good athlete his childhood was for the most part happy.

Victor chose to enlist in the U.S.Navy where he became the ships cook. While his time in service was educational and positive and he is one of few to earn the Enlisted  Service Warfare Pin. Victor was not aware how a harsh, sometimes angry  demeanor suitable for military life would return home to invade his civilian relationships.

Life after the military was different and transition to civilian life and culture had its struggles. His second marriage would coincide with his search for meaningful purpose. The resurfacing of childhood traumas would force him to face and resolve troubling traumas from his past .

All of these experiences would lead to his present passion working with veterans as a peer mentor. Victor is a Certified Peer Support Specialist for the state of Wisconsin and currently serves as the Project Coordinator for the R&R House the 1st Peer Run Respite for Veterans in the country.

“Assisting Veterans in anyway is my passion, and if I can use my lived experience to assist a veteran in their recovery, I’m happy to share it”.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Afghanistan Veteran Matt McDonell, punishing, destruction of long term Benzodiazepines withdrawal and new life vision to provide hope and healing for Veterans, First Responders and Health Care Front Line workers!

Episode 2 Returning to civilian life. Our Guest is Matt McDonell a former Airborne Infantryman  with the 173rd IBCT having served primarily in Germany and Afghanistan. Matt took advantage of educational opportunities available in the military suited to his plans for post military life.  Matt returned home enthusiastic and anxious to get on with life confident the woes that many veterans experienced in transition would not afflict him. A new home with his wife and his business starting strong verified his plans for transition were good ones.

While in the military Matt was recognized to have PTSD, TBI, cognitive damage as well as pain to back, shoulders and knees experienced as a paratrooper. He also experienced headaches and nightmares.  Matt was prescribed Ambien and Diazepam, a Benzodiazepine, for these conditions.
  Experiencing good results with these medications, life in transition was moving along on a healthy course. A doctor’s phone call changed everything . Diazepam was now recognized as possibly more addictive than opioids when used long term. Following  the two week withdrawal regimen the doctor suggested Matt believed the issue resolved.
Matt could not have prepared himself for  the punishing 18 month battle with withdrawal from Benzodiazepine that would end his marriage and cause the loss of his very successful business.
Listen in as Matt shares how this  experience dramatically changed his  views on  life and the unexpected direction  now providing education and healing resources for Veterans, First Responders and Front Line Healthcare workers.

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Divorce, a Failed Business, Withdrawal From Prescribed Medications and New Life Inspiration | Matt McDonell

Matt McDonell is from Detroit, Michigan and now lives in Fox Point, WI.  Matt served in the US Army from Mar 2011 – December 2015 as an Airborne Inftantryman with the 173rd IBCT. Matt deployed to Afghanistan in a combat role in 2012/13.  He was medically retired in late 2015.  Medications initially intended to treat headaches and sleep would eventually cause extended, punishing withdrawal. During this struggle Matt’s marriage would suffer ending in divorce and his business would fail. Having received his MBA from Cardinal Stritch University Matt  is currently receiving his LCSW from Concordia University.
He has recently started a mental health non profit called ‘Next 18’ which offers week long golf camps for disabled veterans and first responders.  The camps provide daily 60-90 minute mental health and holistic lifestyle resource training sessions. The veterans also receive free golf lessons and rounds of golf.  While not running camps Matt plans to use his LCSW to take local Veterans in Milwaukee out one-on-one to play golf and facilitate their needs to tackle hurdles they are facing in a counseling and readjustment to civilian life.
Golf, the outdoors and control of a healthy lifestyle are the goals and passions Matt shares!

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

“Your son didn’t come home” | Heidi Carlson

Heidi Carlson’s father was a Marine, her family had a history of substance abuse and addiction. Her marriage to a Vietnam War veteran — scarred by abuse — ended in divorce. The loves of her life would be her two sons and her six grandchildren. When her son David announced his decision to enlist in the US Army. Heidi was frightened yet proud. David, an infantryman, returned from his first deployment to  Iraq in good spirit and  health. When meeting David at the airport returning from his second tour she immediately noticed, as a mother would, that his eyes were different and evasive. While hugging her son he said to her, “your son did not come home this time.” Heartbroken and afraid, what waited for them both were many years of suffering, substance abuse, severe mental health issues and prison punished them, but a mothers love would never surrender.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Losing the present to the past | Joe Pospichal

A native of Grafton, Wisconsin, Joe Pospichal graduated high school in 1984. The events of 9/11 — along with other incentives — made his military enlistment an easy decision. Joe deployed to Iraq leaving behind a pregnant wife. Working the roads outside the wire would profoundly alter Pospichal’s outlook on life with many nights the longing to be home with the love of his wife gave soothing sanity to life. 

Punishing challenges to life, with his wife and two children, would lead to divorce and many regrets for Pospichal. A still-present battle with cancer arose which has gone into remission, but not without trailing health issues — including total double-hip replacement at 36. 

From the glorious invisibility of a 20 year old soldier in a combat tanker division, through events leaving scars he could never not have foreseen: today, Pospichal is of positive mind and spirit.

His determination and introspection have him in control of how he views the world and responds. He is certainly a hero of mind and spirit.

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.