Non-Judgmental Source of Unconditional Love
This second article in a series of blogs related to the new Walton’s Warriors Peer Mentor Program is written by guest blogger Shawn Lengeman. Shawn served in the Army for eight years and in the National Guard for seven. He deployed to Iraq in 2007.
From the very beginning of my life, I experienced trauma to include a series of traumatic events while deployed. I did not realize at the time that what I experienced in life was an actual strength until my mother-in-law unexpectedly died. At this time, my wife, daughter, and father-in-law were exposed to this traumatic event. During this event, I was able to provide a level of support that many spouses are unable to provide.
It wasn’t until I attended the UCLA Operation Mend ITP that I realized I could also provide support to my fellow Veterans. I was very surprised how my life experiences have propelled me to this spot. Since 2008, I have been very active in my own healing and treatment. My PTSD treatment didn’t really make sense to me until I was able to separate that my growth is not dependent on the people around me.
My approach to peer mentoring is letting the Veteran share what they are needing in that present moment. I can provide advice or resources that the Veteran or family member may be requesting. Peer mentoring is a way that I can continue to serve my community of Veterans. I can take a life experience and share it with another Veteran to show them that there are others who feel or have experienced a similar situation. We are an additional resource or set of eyes to assist a Veteran through a difficult time. This is a place where we can be a non-judgmental source of unconditional love to the families.
Watch the video below to hear about Shawn’s transformation.