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PTSD awareness comes to the Bluff

Our nation is beset with a terrible problem that stretches from east to west, north to south; crosses all racial, ethnic and economic lines; crosses all conservative, liberal and independent lines; affects citizens, male and female, young and old in just about every community imaginable.

It is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is real; it is painful; it is powerful.

The bright side of this issue is that individuals with PTSD can get help. Organizations across this great land are doing terrific work.

A new organization in the Miss-Lou is joining in that effort: Home With Heroes Foundation Inc., a private nonprofit based in Natchez.

This week, a fantastic team will arrive in Natchez to form a significant partnership to establish the Miss-Lou as one of the major PTSD Retreat centers in America.

Some of the team members not only have experienced PTST and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), but have led the charge to help.

We want you to meet us and learn about how you can help, and you can see a national racecar close up and shake hands with the driver.

We will be on the Bluff near Bowie’s Tavern from 6-9 p.m. Thursday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Come say, “Hi,” get an autograph and a flag.

Here’s the team:

-Joel Willman Racing includes Willman, a veteran and the national spokesman for The PTSD Retreat program. He’s bringing his racecar, which is wrapped with the red, white and blue and The PTSD Retreat logo. He’s a great guy with a worthy cause.

-Richard Brewer, of One Warrior Won, is a true hero, a decorated combat Marine, who survived the terrible suicide bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in Lebanon in 1983. In that attack, 241 American troops were killed. Brewer risked his own life several times to aid victims.

He will have with him Joel Connick, Marine Corps veteran who was wounded in Iraq, and operations manager for One Warrior Won, and Jane Case, Marine Corps veteran and research analyst for One Warrior Won.

Brewer founded One Warrior Won to help veterans like himself who have been beset with combat-related stress, which in the old wars was called “shellshock.”

My grandfather, Max LaFrancis, suffered from “shellshock” during his time in the foxholes of World War I. Brewer will have Anka, his service dog with him. Come meet them both.

-And, we will have Jim Bob Allgood, local legend for his television program “Redneck Adventures.” What many do not know is that Jim Bob has taken many wounded warriors on outdoor adventures. Although he didn’t serve in the Armed Forces, Jimmy has become a great soldier for the cause to help PTSD sufferers.

I’ll be there, too, helping our Miss-Lou folks meet and learn from our visitors, and to enjoy seeing No. 90, the national PTSD Retreat Racecar and driver Joel Willman.

So, drop by our tent, provided by United Mississippi Bank, get an autograph, have an opportunity to win a Redneck Adventure and get a free U.S. flag. Learn about PTSD/TBI and how you can help our area’s veterans.

We thank “Redneck Adventures” and SoZo Life for helping bring The PTSD Racecar to the Miss-Lou.


Mark LaFrancis is a 23-year Air Force Veteran and president of Home With Heroes Foundation Inc.