Advocates push to get vets treatment for Moral Injury

Community advocates are reaching out to veterans to aid them with moral injury, a kind of mental trauma veterans are susceptible to.
A push is underway to educate people about veterans who have Moral Injury, a mental health issue that is different from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Kyle Radke of Lockport, Ill., an Air Force veteran, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing air support to ground troops and directing air strikes. He deals with a condition called Moral Injury.

"A lot of the times, I couldn't save everyone," he explained. "I wondered, did I do the right thing. Did I do enough?"

Moral Injury is described as the inner conflict of your personal moral code or values versus the military.

"You join the military and you learn a warrior code, and then you might participate in or do things that violate your personal moral code, such as killing," said retired Maj. Gen. James Mukoyama, a veteran of the U.S. Army and president of Military Outreach USA.

Military Outreach USA is a group that focuses entirely on helping veterans like Radke. As part of its mission, the group is working to educate religious leaders, health care professionals and even businesses about moral injury.

"The time for research is over. It is now time for action," said Mukoyama. "And what we give, is practical steps that people at the local level, communities and churches, can use."

Mukoyama and his group provide ideas for all denominations and all religious leaders.

Deacon Kevin Garvey
Lake McHenry Veteran & Family Services
"They need to know what to do and that's where this document coming out will help them," said Deacon Kevin Garvey of Deerfield, Ill. "They'll have a ready reference to go to."

"For moral injury, the main approach is not a medical doctor with drugs, but rather it's the love, forgiveness and grace of a moral authority, a God," said Mukoyama.

Through it all, Radke, a father of three, says his wife has been his rock. He is also part of the Military Care Community at Willow Creek Church in South Barrington. They've all helped him.

"War changes you," said Radke, "and we're not the same people when we come back. With churches like this and programs like the general is doing, it helps us understand that yes, we changed, but we can still have good lives."

Military Outreach USA is unveiling its guide to helping vets with moral injury Saturday, August 9 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle. Details about the group's upcoming events are below.

For more information on Military Outreach USA, visit www.militaryoutreachusa.org. For more information about the Military Care Community at Willow Creek Church, visit www.willowcreek.org.

Upcoming Moral Injury Events:

Saturday August 9, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Military Outreach USA
Moral Injury Initiative
Trinity Lutheran Church
405 S. Rush Street
Roselle, IL


Friday, Sept. 12th - 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Lake-McHenry Veterans & Family Services
Clergy Conference
Cuneo Historic Mansion
Contact: MJ Hodgins 847-615-0443
Related Topics:
health veterans mental health religion Roselle McHenry County Cook County
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