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Former navy seal in Southeast Texas to break ground on retreat
CRYSTAL BEACH - by Lauren Huet
You may know of former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell from his book "Lone Survivor," which was recently made into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg. It tells the story of Luttrell and his Seal team's mission in Afghanistan. A mission only Luttrell survived.
Luttrell returned to his family's home in Texas to heal, and later founded the Lone Survivor Foundation to help other wounded soldiers and veterans heal as well. Today, in Crystal Beach, the Lone Survivor Foundation broke ground on its first retreat facility. Until now, the foundation has had to rely on other organization's facilities.
"We travel around the country looking for different places," said Lone Survivor Foundation's Program Director Denise Grant, "and it is a struggle at times to find just the right location that's going to give us the privacy, the quiet, the serenity that we need."
The Crystal Beach retreat will be a place where wounded veterans and soldiers can come with their families to heal.
"So you get them out here and you get them moving around," said Marcus Luttrell, "and remind them who they are and what they are. Just that simple thing does a lot for them."
Luttrell remembers the struggle he went through after coming back from combat.
"They left me in the hospital for a while. I was suffering in there, and my doctor walked in one day and he goes, 'Man, what can I do to help you out?' And I was like, 'get me out of here and send me home to Texas. To my momma. To my ranch," said Luttrell.
He says getting back home made all the difference in the world.
"Then when I got home my healing time doubled. It really did. I got out of that hospital environment, I got away from all the people who were telling me that I wasn't going to be able to walk or I couldn't do this agian, I couldn't do that again," said Luttrell. "You get back home to my family and they're like, 'you need to get up and go outside and do some chores. You need to get up and do some whatever.'"
The foundation hopes its retreats provide a similar healing environment.
"We found that service members, and veterans, as well as their families, really don't know very much about their injuries," said Grant. "And our belief is that the more you understand the better you are going to be enabled and empowered to help yourself."
Luttrell says all too often veterans hear the wrong things.
"If you sit around somewhere long enough and have people sit there and tell you that you're screwed up, eventually you're going to start to believe it," said Luttrell. "And that's actually a big problem that we're facing today. A lot of soldiers coming back, if people tell you that you're sick and that you got problems eventually you're going to start to think that."
Luttrell hopes his Lone Survivor Retreats will help others overcome these obstacles. The foundation expects the Crystal Beach retreat to be finished in about a year.
"We will have weekends where we have individual service members and veterans, we'll have weekends where we have couples, and we'll have weekends where we have families out," said Grant.