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Counseling service for military personnel preps for open house events

Apr 14, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Therapists with the Soldiers Project donate their time and commit to working with one client each.

Three opening events are scheduled in the coming weeks at the Soldiers Project-Wyoming Chapter in Riverton.

The nonprofit organization provides free, confidential psychological services to military personnel and their families who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therapists donate their time to the Soldiers Project and commit to working with one client each, staying on the case as long as there is a need.

The Soldiers Project-Wyoming Chapter is located on the old Riverton hospital property at North 12th Street East and East Lincoln Avenue, in a home refurbished by Lander therapist Charlie Wilson. Local realtor Richard Emond transferred the Habitat for Humanity house to Wilson for the Soldiers Project, and community members have offered donations and discounted services to get the facility ready.

Build supporters will be the focus of the Soldiers Project's first open house, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

"We would like to thank all those who have contributed time, labor, materials and patience as we slowly but surely made a dream into a reality," Wilson wrote in an invitation.

Another event will be for therapists and law enforcement officials who may have questions about the project. They are invited to an open house for professionals from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Wilson encouraged therapists interested in getting involved to call him at 330-4635.

"We are really looking for volunteer therapists," he said. "We are recruiting."

A general grand opening will be 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 11. Anyone who can't attend the event is welcome at the first two gatherings.

"It's not exclusive," Wilson said.

The Soldiers Project limits its services to veterans who were stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan primarily because of a lack of resources, he explained.

"We don't mean it in any way to slight anyone or say one vet is more important than the other," Wilson said.

He plans to invite other organizations serving area veterans to use the Soldiers Project facility. He also wants community members to use the center if they have questions about veterans issues in general, and he hopes to coordinate with St. John's Medical Center in Jackson to offer free cognitive testing for local service members. In addition, the Soldiers Project has a program called Adopt a College that educates school faculty and administrators about the challenges veterans face when returning to school after serving. Wilson said he'd be interested in bringing the program to Central Wyoming College in Riverton.

To set up an appointment through the Soldiers Project, call (877) 576-5343. The local facility can be reached by calling 856-1244.

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