PAT LAMOUREUX - One episode in a person's life, does not define the person.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Law Enforcement and Veterans with PTSD

Law enforcement & Veterans have common ground:
1) To serve
2) To protect
3) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Before you judge a Veteran with PTSD, read this.

It is apparent that law enforcement has its own issues with PTSD. Law enforcement officials acknowledge that memories haunt officers for years after the incidents they experience. The officers see dead people and things that aren't real. They act out in ways that would be considered out of character.

What about our VETERANS? These things can't happen to them as well?

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Modeled after a program in Boston, the West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat is one of just two residential treatment programs in the world for first responders. It is a discreet program set up by cops for cops, firefighters and other "first-responders" who suffer post-traumatic stress, deep depression and other symptoms stemming from what they see or do on the job.

"We see things people aren't supposed to see. We are the ones that are supposed to solve the problems. When we can't or when we feel maybe we helped make it worse, our minds just can't cope with that sometimes," said Rick Mattos, president of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen.

“Imagine just lying in bed and you can smell the crime scene 10 years later. Or look in the mirror and see a dead person who isn't there. These are symptoms people really have", said Joel Fay, a 30-year San Rafael police officer and psychologist who directs the retreat, part of the First Responder Support Network.

Symptoms take time to rear up, said Fay. For some it takes decades, with heavy drinking and divorce the frequent fallout.

Former cop Joseph Ba-uelos easily recalls standing in his yard two years ago, shooting rounds into the grass and thrusting a gun in his mouth.

A state drug agent who had worked in west Contra Costa County, buying undercover on the same Richmond streets where he grew up, Ba-uelos was arrested twice over a weekend for driving drunk, he said. A year earlier he'd blown a 0.26 on a breathalyzer - more than three times the legal limit.

He'd screwed up at work and his days as a cop would soon end.

Worse, the images of past calls haunted him:

Turning a corner and seeing a 16-year-old boy who had shot himself in the head "looking at me, and as God is my witness I thought I heard him say, 'Mom, please help.'"

The bullet that hit a 12-year-old, with Ba-uelos unable to move as rifle shots flew and the father pleaded for help as the boy bled out in his arms.

Lately, its leaders say they see more people with military service - cops who were deployed as reserves, for instance, or soldiers who return home to jobs in law enforcement. Focus on PTSD in soldiers has grown dramatically, with studies showing huge numbers from the Iraq War.

But sometimes it turns up later, after the uniform turns
from green to blue. (1)

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A comment that posted to the article:
About time we took care of those who take care of us. Shameful that most police departments turn their backs on psychological trauma and don't recognize line of duty suicides. Perhaps one day they will.
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Perhaps one day Americans will not turn their backs on the psychological trauma that our Veterans experience during combat.
John Simerman Marin Independent Posted: 05/31/2009 10:09:19 PM PDT

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Make a Difference in Someone's Life

Each of us can make a difference in someone’s life. If we try.

I am reaching out to many people with this post. I hope you all take the time to read it.

I am asking you to make a difference in someone’s life. Pat’s life.

Some of you are people Patrick and I have known for years. Some of you might have been our best friends in high school. Some of you might have just been acquaintances in high school. Perhaps some of you were people that we used to work with.

But then, there are those of you that we have never met. But somehow in the course of life, our paths have crossed, and we have come to “know” each other.

How do people you don’t “know” have an impact on your life? This is an example of people Pat & I have never met that have had an impact on Pat’s life, and my life.

While Pat was in Iraq, by random chance, a wonderful family came in contact with Pat. I stay in contact with this family to this day. They sent care packages to Pat when he was in Iraq. They didn’t know him, but they cared. We have never met these people, but they have been a steadfast and loyal support system for Pat and I since that first care package that he received. Through this family, I have made contact with another wonderful family that has also been a great support system for me. Pat and I have never met these people, but we “know” them….

To Sheila & Marion, and Kay – thank you. Thank you for all you have done for Pat, and thank you for being an anchor for me in these last several months. Your strength and encouragement keeps me going. You have made a difference in someone’s life.

And to someone from high school, Mark Casillas – I say thank you as well. Thank you for your service Mark, and thank you for making the difference in Pat’s life, even though you don’t “know” Pat.

So now, I am asking that everyone that reads this to please help make a difference in Pat’s life too. You can all help.

Save $5.00 a day, or a week, and put it away. Don’t go to Starbucks. Don’t go to Chili’s. Don’t go to the movie theatre, rent a DVD. Make your own coffee. Fix your own lunch/dinner. At the end of the month, send those few dollars you saved to help save a worthy Veteran - my husband. He is facing the rest of his life in prison. But with the best legal team possible, you all could help save his life.

He put his life on the line for our country. For you. For our freedoms.

Helping him will give you something that you can smile about and feel good about.

You will have made a difference in someone’s life.

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"
"Kain-man" the jokester....

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003
"Pat is an extraordinary, thoughtful, kind and generous man...not to mention a wonderful friend, in which one could always count upon to be there when in need." (words of a long time friend)

Pat's Family

Pat's Family
Mica & Heather, grandson Kain