Tag: veterans

He wrote, “Get me to the VA so they can stop someone else.”

The Capt. John D. Mason Program aims to save lives by utilizing Veteran peers that go into the community and locate Veterans in need engaging them in VA health services, and other community resources, to live a healthy, productive life.

Captain John D. Mason served in Vietnam with the Second Battalion, Twelfth Marines, Third Marine Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat “V” for his valor and honorable service. John reflected on his military training and values when faced with personal and professional challenges. John was kind, smart, funny, hardworking, and a man of impeccable values and integrity who loved his wife and two children, and friends deeply. He struggled silently for many years with depression and PTSD stemming from his time in Vietnam. John didn’t want to burden his family or friends with his inner struggles. That, combined with the stigma of mental illness, prevented him from seeking sufficient treatment for his symptoms.
In 2013, financial distress and pain from a back injury caused his illness to overpower him and he took his own life. John left five suicide letters, and wrote, “Get me to the VA so they can stop someone else.”
Our guests today, Project Coordinator Susan Smykal, Veteran Mark Flower and Veteran Chris Swift discuss the making and operation of the Captain John D.
With a focus on Veteran depression and suicide they will focus attention today on their new Gun Safe Storage Program and Gun Safety Program. With a special guest Afghanistan Veteran Matt McDonell. During readjustment Matt had experienced a crisis with prescription withdrawal. Not understanding where the effects would take him he chose to lock his weapons and give the key to a trusted employee. Matt describes the importance of this decision while in crisis. Matt is the founder of ‘Next 18’ golf camp for disabled veterans and first responders.
SEE More on Matt’s program at www.next18.org
The program is completed with additional resources resources and contact information.
We thank Joe and Jennifer Tate and the Medical College of Wisconsin for this and many other programs dedicated to improving the healthcare of veterans, military families and the human 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.

Rage and Reconciliation | Joe Campbell

In this segment of the Stigma Free Vet Zone, Vietnam veteran Joe Campbell reflects on his family’s experience during his active duty and beyond. We hear how Joe’s family grappled with the fear associated with not knowing where he was, what danger he might be facing, and if and when they might receive word that Joe had been killed.

Campbell describes his mother’s torment as her emotions swung from her unending fear for his safety overseas to gnawing heartache and helplessness for the man who returned home.

Relentlessly driven by rage, Joe’s family watched for decades as he descended further into isolation and violent nightmares fueled by alcohol. “Quit drinking or this is over,” demanded his wife.

Listen, as Campbell narrates what happens next (and guides us on his path to reconciliation).


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.

The Enemies Within

With great pride and patriotism Erin Schraufnagel joined the United States Marines Corps after the 9/11 attack in New York City in 2001. Twelve years later, Staff Sergeant Schraufnagel left the military life behind her. She shares her expectations for deployments to Iraq, a marriage strained between deployments, the unexpected enemies in her own ranks, rage, depression, alcohol and the horrifying near-death accident of her two-year-old daughter — which only added to the trauma. The inner strength that made Erin a Marine would now surface again, taking responsibility for life she brought love back to her family.


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.

Fulfilling life…more than just a soldier!

I have had two parallel career tracks: one in public radio, the other as a government/military worker or civilian contractor. In radio I prepared and hosted music shifts and news shifts, interviewed arts, science, and political figures, written scripts and web posts, and engineered live broadcasts. For the US government, I spent 4 years as an Army linguist, three years in the Foreign Service, and 2 years as a civilian contractor for the US Army in the Balkans.

From 2006-2020 I hosted, wrote, and produced a daily public radio show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Lake Effect.

In 2020, I became the program director for North Country Public Radio.


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.

Community Taskforce on Veteran Suicide Prevention

Follow the progress of Southeast Wisconsin community leaders on the prevention of veteran suicide with the efforts Milwaukee War Memorial, MCW, Rogers Behavioral Health, Vet Center, Aurora, MAVRC, US Dept. of Veterans, CVI, DryHootch, Kubly Foundation, County Veteran Service Officers, WDVA, Center for Suicide Awareness among others task for members.

The Reckoning: Anger, Depression, and Reconciliation with Carol Sprague

Carol joins me today to discuss the reckoning that occurred a decade after Chuck returned injured from Vietnam. She shares the challenges and emotions associated with being the wife of a Veteran who has seen extensive action. Carol shares how Chuck kept his Vietnam experiences to himself for ten years, before his father’s death caused a day of reckoning. She discusses their reconciliation and finding peace through religion and philosophy. Carol also highlights how communication and counseling can help Veterans and their spouses as well as the importance of avoiding shaming and blame.

The Emotions of War and the Wounded Healer with Chuck Sprague

Chuck joins me today to discuss the emotions of war and healing through work and our relationships. He discusses how working in Navy hospitals is a hard introduction to the reality of war injuries and his feelings of fear as he arrived in Vietnam to serve the regiment nicknamed as “The Walking Dead.” Chuck reveals the toll that his time in Vietnam has had on his body and mind. He highlights how the stigma and treatment of Vietnam veterans affected him and the healing process that required the support of his relatives, finding meaning in his experiences, and how his work became a form of his own therapy.

Souled Out: War and Inner Peace with Mike Orban Part 2

Mike joins me today to dive deeper into discussing his return to civilian life after serving in Vietnam, and the measures he took to maintain a facade of normalcy while fighting his distressing inner battles. Mike discusses his decision to join the Peace Corps, how this experience served as a spiritual awakening for him, and what it was like when he returned home to the United States once more. Mike also highlights his experiences with mental health care and how becoming more educated on his traumatic responses empowered him to move forward.