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Doonesbury

The cartoonist behind “Doonesbury” is following a dream to help soldiers heal from the seen (and unseen) wounds of war—and he’s following family tradition in the process.

Garry Trudeau’s great-grandfather established a tuberculosis treatment center in New York’s Adirondack Mountains back in 1884—a center at which Trudeau worked as a teenager. Trudeau has now signed up to support the Patriot Hills project, a proposed rehabilitation center aimed at healing soldiers affected by combat trauma.

Trudeau has pledged $25,000 to the project and hails it as an opportunity to “make warriors whole again.” Patriot Hills already has support from dozens of organizations—including Veterans groups—and is hoping to use pledges of support from Senators to help push through its application for $7.2 million in federal funding.

Patriot Hills is a first-of-its kind opportunity for returning soldiers: a long-term holistic treatment and therapy center surrounded by clean mountain air and the support of the Adirondack community. It’s more than just traditional treatment—it’s a complete approach to re-integration that makes the process feel more like a retreat or a summer camp.

Ed Tick, who founded a similar program offering intensive retreats for returning veterans, is pleased to have other facilities join the fight against PTSD and other traumatic injuries of war. “Soldiers tell me that we spend a lot of money in this country on training and equipping them to fight our wars and a lot of money on their funerals when they’re killed in combat, but there’s not much money available when it comes to healing them,” he said. “They tell me they don’t want to be glorified or treated as heroes when they return. They just want help in returning to a normal life.

For the original article, check out the Albany Times Union.

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