COLLIER COUNTY, Fla -- For many Veterans, the realities of war never go away once they return home. Many suffer from some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder whether it's anxiety, depression, anger or a combination. But, with a little help, one local group is helping Veterans find freedom out on the water.
For Bob Bodemann, Memorial Day is not an easy time. "I think of the people who went over there with me and didn't come back and the people that came back and didn't really come back," says Bodemann.
The Vietnam Veteran has been home for more than 40 years, but his experience in combat has never left him. "So many of us have problems that this is freedom out here," says Bodemann.
Out here, is the water; a place where Bob and other Veterans say they can open up and just be free. "It rebuilds our ability to communicate with others," says Vietnam Veteran Scott Adams.
These Veterans spent time on a 55 foot yacht all thanks to the Freedom Waters Foundation, a local non-profit that uses boating as a means of therapy. "It helps because civilians are saying hey we care about you," says Greg Cintron. "You're enjoying a boat ride, something you normally would not be doing and it's simply because of another persons generosity."
Cintron is an Iraq War Veteran and counselor. He says many Veterans return home feeling broken and disconnected, but water therapy has taught them to open up.
Bodemann says, "it really helps. For so many years myself included we were Mr. Macho so we wouldn't say there were any problems. We had them but they were demons locked inside us."
Freedom Waters Foundation, based in Naples, also does therapeutic boating, including sailing and fishing trips for people with disabilities, special needs and life threatening illnesses.
For more information go to http://freedomwatersfoundation.org/