Organization aims to help veteran's spouses when they return home

Local group helps spouses of veterans
Published: Mar. 5, 2017 at 3:36 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 5, 2017 at 12:31 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - When veterans return from active duty, their home often becomes a battlefield as they deal with conditions, like post traumatic stress disorder, and many
spouses struggle to adjust.

A local organization, which launched Saturday, aims to help veteran's loved ones when they return home.

"It's hard for families and it's hard for the spouse. I've seen more than one marriage fail," said veteran Bill Hinde.

Returning home from war is a tough transition for everyone involved.

"(Spouses) did not experience war, but they are now giving up and sacrificing, not only the loss of their spouse as they knew them, but also this is their
life. They didn't sign on for it," said Hearts of Patriots Director Denise Gula Weller.

Gula Weller started the organization after watching her own daughter deal with the struggles of her husband returning home from war with PTSD and TBI.

"Nine percent of spouses of veterans with PTSD and TBI consider suicide. Families and children consider and do suicide," said Gula Weller.

Hearts of Patriots aims to offer support, education and resources so loved ones don't have to feel alone.

"I struggled a long time with relationships. I struggled with alcohol abuse and, you know, some suicidal ideation," said Hinde. "Sometimes it's not their
fault you feel the way you feel, but you can't help the way you feel. You get depressed you get angry."

Many people spoke the night of the launch, including a taped speech from US Senator Sherrod Brown. There was also a touching performance inspired by Gula Weller's own daughter.

"Now that they're home it's the family that is going through it and they're home is now the battlefield and it will never change for the rest of their
life," said Gula Weller.

For more information, visit the Hearts of Patriots website,

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