Cuero receives veteran's support group

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

April 14, 2011 at 5 p.m.
Updated April 13, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.

CUERO - PW Covington spent 15 years not talking about his experiences in the Gulf War and Somalia.

Now, the 37-year-old opens his life up to let other veterans know it's not OK to stay silent.

Covington is a certified peer facilitator for Gulf Bend Center's Victoria Area Veterans Support Services, which has started a meeting location at the Cuero Public Library.

The support group is about a year old and the first meeting in Cuero is April 23.

"We serve the seven counties surrounding Victoria and we're trying to reach out more to the surrounding communities," Covington said. "Cuero has been awesome in welcoming the program."

The support group also helps the family members of veterans.

"It's vets helping vets," he said. "That's why I do it."

The meetings are informal, unlike similar programs offered through Veteran's Assistance or other military services, Covington said. Everything is strictly confidential and any discussion is game, such as post traumatic stress disorder and other effects of war, he said.

The program is made possible through federal funds available to the state governor, said Stan Hamlyn, program director.

Becoming a peer facilitator takes several days of rigorous training, he added.

"Cuero just jumped all over it (the idea)," he said.

Covington is happy communities outside Victoria are excited about the group.

He wants veterans to know they don't have to bottle their feeling like he did for almost 15 years.

"It doesn't have to get to that point," he said. "Know there are people willing to stand by you."



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