Veteran with PTSD and caregiver wife surprised with SUV at Army-Navy game
By MATT CAMPBELL | The Kansas City Star (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 9, 2017
Bryan Moore was sitting in Kandahar, Afghanistan, seven years ago this month trying to decide which gun he should use to kill himself.
The Kansas City man had done seven tours of duty in Afghanistan before he realized he just couldn’t take it anymore. He’d seen too much. Too many comrades had died.
“I couldn’t cope anymore,” he said later in a video for Warriors’ Ascent, a non-profit recovery program in Kansas City. “I couldn’t stuff another thing. I was done.”
Now he gets through the days with the help of his wife, Shawn Moore, a Kansas City police officer. They met shortly after Bryan was medically discharged after 23 years with the Army.
“It was several months into our relationship when I heard the term ‘caregiver’ and I applied it to myself,” Shawn Moore told hiddenheroes.org.
On Saturday Bryan and Shawn Moore were enjoying the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia when they both got a big surprise at halftime that honored Shawn Moore’s service as a caregiver.
Bryan Moore joined the Army in 1989 at age 18. He spent the next 15 years craving action.
“I didn’t deploy,” he said. “I wanted that. I was hungry.”
Then he got into the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Finally, in 2005, he reached the battle zone. Within two weeks a close friend died in a helicopter crash. At the end of that rotation his unit lost a helicopter with eight men on it.
“You stuff all that and you move on and you drive on,” he said. “I hid my emotions. I hid all the pain, all the grief. It comes back with a vengeance and it comes back all at once.”
Bryan started to realize he had PTSD. The First Sergeant said to himself: “You’re done. You need to be med-boarded.”
Back stateside, he found some comfort at the Laurel Ridge Treatment Center, a psychiatric hospital in San Antonio. But afterward he started to relapse back into alcoholism. Shawn Moore heard about Warriors’ Ascent through the police department and she texted him a link.
Bryan embraced the program, which consists of classes and activities.
“It’s only five days,” he said, “but there’s enough information in those five days to make you rethink how you live, how you talk, how you breathe, how you walk, how you do everything. It changes it. It was so freeing.”
Bryan and Shawn Moore have six children and four grandchildren in their blended family. She is active in Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor, an organization that honors the service and sacrifice of those who care for wounded soldiers.
“Meeting my husband has been one of the greatest highlights in my life,” Shawn Moore told Hidden Heroes. “I feel like the Lord put me in this spot because he saw the strength that I have which is so needed being a caregiver. Is it hard? Yes! The biggest changes that I have made are in my career. It isn’t about what I need to do to advance. It is about what position I need to be in to better care for and be there for my husband.”
As a Dole Caregiver Fellow with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Shawn Moore hopes to shed light on the value of caregivers for veterans and military members that are suffering. Both are involved with Warriors’ Ascent. Shawn encourages other caregivers at a support group that meets twice a month.
Shawn and Bryan Moore knew Operation Homefront and Hearts of Valor were to be highlighted during halftime at the Army-Navy game. They did not know that Shawn would be presented with a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse as a gesture of appreciation for her service and dedication to helping her husband and others. Chevrolet is the official vehicle of the Army-Navy game.
“It is so important for us to honor the families of our military service members who are so often confronted with the lifelong care of our wounded veterans,” Dan Akerson, former chairman and CEO of General Motors said in a statement. “Recognizing Shawn Moore and the exceptional care that she is providing for her husband, Bryan, is a small way for GM and Chevrolet to bring attention to the vital role organizations like Operation Homefront play in the daily support of our military families.”
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