Robert Vera is an author who devotes a great deal of his time helping wounded soldiers. He was a friend of the late Ryan Job, a former Navy SEAL teammate of the late Chris Kyle.
Robert is the new, UNPAID executive director of the SPARTA PROJECT, a program that aims to help soldiers and first responders cope with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
(PODCAST AVAILABLE HERE: http://www.spreaker.com/user/followersofthecross/a-passion-for-serving-soldiers-with-ptsd)
SPARTA brings relief to veterans and first responders who are struggling with spiritual and moral wounds trauma, Robert said. That includes guilt and shame from war. He said he believes the spiritual and moral wounds are the most dangerous aspects of PTSD.
SPARTA uses clinical practitioners, headed by chaplains and other clinical experts. They explain to participants the effects of trauma on the brain: changes to the frontal lobe and other areas, which are predictable and which cause symptoms that are predictable. Then, they get into unpacking the spiritual and moral wounds associated with war, shame and guilt. Then they ask participants to use unpacking and leverage that experience to become greater than their past.
“If you can think and act greater than your past, then you cannot become a victim of it.”
They can elevate themselves above the trauma. They can be better off than before their war experience, he said.SPARTA has locations in Minnesota, California and Arizona. The group is about to make
its second trip to Australia to treat special forces commandos.
Robert is also concerned with the high suicide rate among veterans: on average, 22 per day. He said no pill can cure hopelessness, which is the root cause of suicide.
“Hopelessness is cured … by the right relationships in your life, coupled with the right information and the right perspective.”
SPARTA’s counselors who work in a secured location provide the right relationships. All the people there are motivated to give veterans and first responders the right resources.
Concerning Robert’s friend Ryan: He said he was grateful for becoming blind from his injuries in Iraq and for all the people he met afterwards. He knew his true friends were there for him vs. who was interested in him because he was a Navy SEAL. He knew he could handle being wounded and perhaps others on his SEAL team could not. He had no regrets.
My podcast has more information about Ryan. You can also read a previous story about Ryan by clicking here.
Robert’s new book will tell the story of retired Navy SEAL Richard Peters, who is also a Christian. Peters has worked in dangerous parts of the world as a security contractor, and he was kidnapped in 2011 in Tripoli during the final season of Muammar Gaddafi’s reign. He was a fellow prisoner for a while of the late journalist James Foley. The men became friends and Peters led Foley to having faith in Christ while in prison.
The book will include such details as Peters’ miraculous escape from the Libyan prison where the men were held. The Holy Spirit told Peters to kick the metal door of his cell down in the prison, just prior to his scheduled hanging as an alleged spy. Despite his initial skepticism, Peters kicked the door down over the course of several hours.
Robert provides more details about Peters in my podcast episode. Be looking for this book possibly in 2017.