Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Seattle Adventures: On the Road Reporting for the USO

One of the best parts of my job, I think, is the opportunity to travel.

Last week, I got to head to Seattle/Tacoma to cover the USO's 10th Caregivers Seminar, which provides specialized programming to caregivers of wounded, ill and injured soldiers. The programming is actually really great and features sessions from gameonNation, Stronger Families and more.

Even though I had been to this seminar before in Fort Leonard Wood, Miss., I really enjoyed the opportunity to attend the seminar in this location. While the Fort Leonard Wood seminar was small and intimate, this session was quite large, with around 90 registered attendees. For me, more attendees means more stories, more dialogue and more interesting things to write and report about.

In particular, I got to meet Carleeh Mullholland, the wife and caregiver of medically retired Army Sgt. Cy Mullholland, who was diagnosed with severe PTSD and TBI after serving several tours in the Middle East as a tank commander. Carleeh shared her story with me and talked a bit about her personal journey and how she ended up at the Caregiver's Seminar. Here's a look at my USO blog story:
TACOMA, Wash. — Carleeh Mullholland didn’t choose to be a caregiver.

But when her husband, medically retired Army Sgt. Cy Mullholland, was diagnosed with severe PTSD and TBI after serving several tours in the Middle East as a tank commander, she stepped into the caregiving role — whether she was ready or not.

“It fell in my lap,” she said. “[I had to] take care of my husband and I didn’t really get a say-so.”

After receiving his official diagnosis, Cy served for several more years before eventually being medically discharged. During the family’s transition process out of the military, Carlee notes that her husband’s condition added another dimension to an already difficult and confusing time.

“You’re in this place where you don’t know where you are, you don’t know what’s going to happen, there’s no job for your spouse if he is unable to work [like my husband, who is disabled],” Carleeh said. “So you got to figure something out.”

Over the past few years, Carleeh, a mother of three, has started to figure it out
Read more here!
While at the seminar, I also spoke to a young military couple, Jill and Isaac Strausbaugh (Isaac is injured), who are in the process of transitioning out of the military. I haven't gotten around to writing their story yet, but I can promise you it will be a good one. Besides attending the Caregivers Seminar, I also got to head to RP/6 (an org that helps veterans/transition troops find jobs) and the USO SEATAC center for two other stories which are in process.

Even though it was a very busy (and fruitful!) reporting trip, I did get a chance to sneak a peek at some gorgeous Seattle/Tacoma sites. Mountains, anyone?

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