(Stars and Stripes)

Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation is one of a number of charitable organizations dedicated to helping service members, veterans and their families with health care, stepping in to fill the gaps left by TRICARE or Veterans Affairs.

On this Fast Take episode of Military Matters, co-hosts Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez talk some more about the organization following Murphy’s interview with immediate needs and operations director Rebecca Houlihan and marketing and fundraising director Courtney Snyder. Murphy met Houlihan and Snyder at the SOF Week conference in Florida in May and was struck by the significance of the services the organization provides not just to service members, but families.

“Some of the issues that they raised, where their charity fills in these gaps that the U.S. government sometimes drops the ball on things, is not surprising to me in the sense that I saw it happen back in the day when there unfortunately were not a lot of these charities that fill those gaps,” Murphy said. “We're lucky and fortunate that we now have these organizations that will fly the family members down to a hospital or to, you know, God forbid a funeral — that provide these sorts of services that you don't really think about these kind of costs.”

Task Force Dagger also helps facilitate care for service members and veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress, in particular with two cutting-edge treatments: stellate ganglion block (an injection into the stellate ganglion nerve bundle in the neck normally used to treat pain) and ketamine therapy.

“The therapies for PTSD are always — those are subjects that always catch my attention because it really does show the evolution of the VA and its perspectives on what treatment can look like,” Rodriguez said.

You can find Military Matters on Twitter @stripesmmpod.

Follow Jack Murphy on Twitter @jackmurphyrgr and Rod Rodriguez @rodpodrod.

A transcript of the episode can be found here.

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Brian McElhiney is a digital editor, podcast editor and occasional reporter for Stars and Stripes. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa, Japan.

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