Vet shares story of survival at ECU event - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Vet shares story of survival at ECU event

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Brian Paul, founder of Veterans 4 Life USA, shared his personal story at ECU. (KTEN) Brian Paul, founder of Veterans 4 Life USA, shared his personal story at ECU. (KTEN)
Military veterans and current service members were honored at ECU on May 16, 2019. (KTEN) Military veterans and current service members were honored at ECU on May 16, 2019. (KTEN)

ADA, Okla. -- Students and faculty members at East Central University held their annual Veterans and Military Appreciation Day on Thursday.

The crowd learned about an organization helping former service members deal with post-traumatic stress and addiction called Veterans 4 Life USA.

The organization's founder, Brian Paul, joined the 45th Infantry of the National Guard hoping for adventure. There was barely time to blink before he was seeing action.

"A short time after we got back from infantry school and boot camp, we deployed to the Oklahoma City bombing on April 1995," he said.

Paul believes that experience launched his issues with post-traumatic stress. 

After his time in the military, he became a full-time firefighter, but his problems just got worse. 

"I found myself homeless and actually committing suicide with alcohol before finally reaching out to my mother and getting the help I needed," Paul said.

He received treatment and wanted to help other veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and addiction, so he founded Veterans 4 Life USA.

"We provide a family atmosphere that's very welcoming for people who are struggling, who otherwise may feel alone," said Paul, who provided the keynote address at Thursday's program.

Veterans 4 Life USA now has a dozen partnerships to help veterans cope with these issues, and Paul believes that equine therapy is among the most important.

"Just like most people, it helped me extraordinarily," he said. "It actually is one of the reasons for my own survival." 

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