Veterans say Lines for Life is a huge benefit for those struggli - KPTV - FOX 12

Veterans say Lines for Life is a huge benefit for those struggling

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Coming back home from the front lines of war can be tough and for some veterans, it can be overwhelming. That's why there is a special helpline set up staffed 24-hours a day to help military veterans. It's called Lines for Life.

“It’s hard because when you come back especially in my situation you don’t have a chance to deal with all that stuff you deal with over there," Army Veteran Eric "Chops" Bramwell said. 

He served several months overseas during the most recent Iraq war.

“I was about 40 miles south of Baghdad in the Sunni death triangle, I spent 15 months there from 06’ to 07’," Bramwell said. 

He adds that when a fellow soldier made the ultimate sacrifice they didn't have time to mourn.

“When that happens over there, there is no down time so it is just back on missions," Bramwell said.

So coming home many soldiers like Chops brought the weight of losing a friend and fellow soldier back with them.

“All of the sudden you are processing all of these deaths and all the stuff that happened to you because now for a chance you have a little bit of down time and so I was in a pretty dark place when I got back for a long time," Bramwell said. 

That's where Lines for Life comes in.

“I was a fighter pilot for 20 years and I served in Vietnam in 71’, 72’ and 73’," Veteran and Lines for Life Volunteer Tom Milligan said. 

He works the lines every Monday morning.

“If they find that there is a military member, former member on the phone on the other end there is a sigh of relief because somebody will understand," Milligan said. 

“Know that you are not alone," Bramwell said. "I mean that is the biggest thing is you are not the only one struggling, we have all lost people, we all deal with a lot of different issues and know that you are not the only one struggling.”

These two veterans have not only found a sense of normalcy through Lines for Life but through the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. Different chapters are scattered across the country and they give vets a place to share stories and to be around those who have fought on the front lines.

“It’s hard to find people that get you," Chris Winson with CVMA said. "It is an opportunity to talk to people that understand where you are coming from."

From different rides to tuning up their bikes together, CVMA is an outlet for veterans.

“Having like-minded veterans is a huge deal. It is a big part of veterans integrating back into society," Winson said.

But perhaps the most difficult step when many of these vets return home is taking that first step if you need help.

“It is hard because you have to take that step and actually go and call, you know, once you do and you have someone to talk to it just means a ton to have someone listen. just to listen to what you have to say," Bramwell said. “The pain never goes away which is important for people to know, the pain never goes away but it gets easier to deal with in time and talking about those experiences definitely helps deal with that pain.”

FOX 12 is helping to raise money to benefit Lines for Life. To make a donation to help give a voice for veterans, visit KPTV.com/Voice or simply text "LINES" to 444999.

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