Tag: family

10th Anniversary ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! There’s more to tell!! | 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.

Dr. Lee, “the real casualty of war is family”

Kenneth Lee immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. The son of a South Korean Army career soldier and Vietnam War Veteran, Lee developed a sense of duty to his new country. Completing medical school and determined to serve and “give back” he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

There, as a commander of the Company Bravo of the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion, he suffered a traumatic brain injury during a suicide car bombing while on a combat tour to Iraq in 2003.

Years of physical and psychological challenges — and of the the haunting guilt of leaving his command post and company behind in Iraq — would strain Lee’s wife and children. They would be the real casualties of his war — suffering the effects of a husband and father emotionally detached from the family.

“You don’t smile anymore,” said Lee’s daughter — then he sought help.

After recognizing the need to take responsibility, he is determined to maintain the health of his family as the primary health care unit. His passion to help veterans is shown through his devotion to the adaptive sports community.

Iraq, Afghanistan I was there! Combat Medic | Chris Swift

I was born in Milwaukee and grew up on the northwest side.  My childhood was like many others, hanging out with neighborhood friends and playing sports and getting into our mischief.  I graduated from Milwaukee Madison HS in 1993, went to Carthage College, but at the time I was only worried about playing football and not engaging in class like I should’ve been.  I worked for a couple years prior to enlisting in the Army as a medic, the best job I ever had. At my first duty station in 2000, I worked in the ER at FLW, MO, there was no better place for me to be.   I learned the skills that would help me in combat later on.  I spent 55 months between Iraq and Afghanistan, there were good days and bad.  After I finished my time in Active Duty, I went home for the birth of my daughter and transitioned to the Reserves.  During my time in the reserves, I became an instructor, but my transition to the civilian world was not so good.  I had many underlying issues that I hadn’t dealt with.  I am an alcoholic who got three OWI’s, which is way less than I should’ve.  

After my third OWI, I went to inpatient rehab at the VA and spent seven months in jail.  After my release, I began working for the Captain John D. Mason Veteran Peer Support Program with the Medical College of Wisconsin.  I have since become a Certified Peer Specialist and take my experiences and try to help those who need help. I also share my story so that they don’t follow my poor choices.  I have found my purpose again in life because of the programs and work that I do now.


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 and More: Extreme Challenges & Resiliency

Arianna Cirincione is from La Crosse, WI, born and raised until leaving home at the age of 18 to join the Air Force. Arianna served on Active Duty as a Security Forces member from 2005 until 2018, until she was medically retired. Arianna began her career at Spangdahlem, Germany, followed by RAF Lakenheath, Fort Leonard Wood, MO and finished her career back up at Spangdahlem. Arianna deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 where she performed duties as a detainee operations cell guard. Arianna was also deployed to Al Udeid AB Qatar where she was a DBIDS operator. While deployed she sustained injuries sending her garrison where she began working as a military police investigator. Following her medical retirement, Arianna returned back to the La Crosse area where she began graduate school in Mental Health Counseling with a focus in working with individuals with addictions and is scheduled to graduate in December. Arianna aspires to continue working with veterans and military following graduation and also runs the Tactical Recovery Group, a recovery program for veterans and their family members. Arianna has been married to her husband Dominic since 2006 and they have one son together named Harrison.


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.

A Combat Infantry Officer and his wife who shares the experience

Upon graduation from college Allen was drafted into the US Army, and attended infantry basic and advanced training then on to OFFICER’S CANDIDATE SCHOLL at the Infantry School at Fort Banning,  GA.  His duty assignment includes Fort Jackson as a training officer and Fort Banning as a trainee in the Heavy Motor Platoon leader school.  Upon graduation Allen was assign to the Republic of Vietnam where He severed as a rifle platoon leader;commanding general’s briefing officer and an operations officer at the G5 Psyop.  I returned to the USAR and left after serving 8 addionall years leaving at the rank of Major.
While in training Allen married his high school sweetheart Linda who knows the military from the spouses experience. Together Allen and  Linda have two lovely children.
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.

“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.

David Carlson on Rising Up After a Lifetime of Trauma

David Carlson joins me today to discuss his troubling childhood upbringing – from being raised in chronic toxic environments, acting out and trouble with the law to joining the military and rebuilding his life. He shares his battles with substance abuse, why he chose to join the Army National Guard, and how the structure and discipline he received during basic and infantry training improved his perspective about his self-worth and his sense of identity. He shares his experiences while serving two tours in Iraq and the stark differences in structure and discipline between military life and civilian culture. He also shares his experiences with losing sight of his purpose in life, how CrossFit and what inspired him to dedicate his life to serving and helping others. Working with the Orban Foundation for Veterans to instill hope in those seeking it.

From Under A Bridge to Off A Bridge? | Mark Flower

Mark Flower enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation from High School. He served, then lived life gaily until issues took hold, bringing him to homelessness and addiction. The hardest step – seeking help – started Mark on his journey in recovery. This recovery is maintained by giving back and by being of service to others who struggle with similar experiences. Giving back helps keep Mark on track in his recovery!