In the scenic foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, veterans from around the Pittsburgh area unloaded their heavy baggage, literally and figuratively.
They recently attended a free four-day retreat to learn how to leave behind the trauma of war, and return to marriage, parenthood, employment and society.
“They really target what you're going through, not only the military member, but what the spouse is going through,” said veteran William Busby.
Busby and his wife, Yasemin, said the transition from military life to civilian, including a move to Pittsburgh for work, has been tough.
“You don't know anybody. You don't have the income you used to have. You run into a bunch of problems you didn't expect to run into and that just throws a wrench into all your plans. That brings you down into depression,” he said.
“A lot of service members come back from overseas and they have challenges,” said retired Major Andy Charpentiere.
He said counselors with Warrior2Citizen, a new veteran services nonprofit, help couples work together to understand and respect each other's struggles and strengths.
“Sometimes people just forget why they fell in love with each other. They are reconnecting and discovering that. And it's very fulfilling for us and great to see,” he said.
Warrior2Citizen boardmember and former Steeler Rocky Bleier, a veteran himself, was the keynote speaker.
Wounded twice in the same day on a mission in Vietnam, Bleier knows the kind of stress a veteran can bring home from the front.
"If we can save a life from a suicide perspective, or we can save a marriage, then we are better off as a country,” he said.
Busby already sees a difference.
“Now we can talk about things we couldn't talk about,” he said.
To learn more about Warrior2Citizen and their services -- CLICK HERE.