Friday, July 27, 2007

Future Friedman: A place for healing war wounds?

By Jim Banholzer
For The Wood River Journal
Original post here:

Ancient warriors were given special care upon returning from battles. They were brought into spas at outskirts of cities and slowly cooled down with extraordinary nurturing concern for long spells until it was determined that it was safe for them to return into communities-unlike modern times when soldiers more often get dumped straight back onto the streets with little or no benefits. Nowadays, many of our Country's Veterans are homeless or incarcerated at record levels without support, while perpetually mired in post-traumatic crises. As Dennis Kucinich put it, “Homelessness and poverty are weapons of mass destruction.”

Men develop with different levels of mettle, but sanity has limitation points for even the bravest of soldiers. “Soldiers Heart” affected many Civil War Veterans (and their families). In later wars, this became “Shell Shock” then “Battle Fatigue.” Now “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” is the expression. During World War II Gen. George S. Patton was nearly court-martialed after slapping a hospital patient whose conscience was suffering from “Soldiers Heart”, thinking that he was just a coward.

A historically safe place, which soldiers used to convalesce, both physically and psychologically was the Sun Valley Lodge. Many World War II soldiers, who rehabilitated there in its fresh air, became attached to this area -and for good reasons. Some remain as helpful contributors within our community to this day.

What safer place and further away from war (Mountain Home Air Force Base notwithstanding) could there be for a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center, then the good earth on where Friedman airport currently sits? It's been reported that if the Friedman family recognizes a suitably significant cause, that they will consider donating this prime Hailey Real Estate for that concern -if the airport relocates, whereby the site reverts to the family.

I believe it's not too early for our community leaders to begin contemplating constructive ideas about what they might create from this once-in-a-lifetime possibility.

We could transform this airport acreage into something for truly banking on; besides generous monetary donations from valley benefactors to help establish a healing foundation center, this could also be a prime opportunity for us to show how rich we are in spirit, by personally welcoming these recuperating warriors back into our community. As part of their continuing recovery, we could thank our Veterans for their Herculean efforts by offering desirable jobs-some perhaps related with support services for the healing center.

Moreover, we could construct hundreds of affordable-housing units on the land, along with potential worker-retraining facilities for displaced warriors to re-attach to our community by becoming useful contributors. Some of the recovered will have rejuvenated with a broader sense of understanding and develop the desire to become healing practitioners themselves. A “Walter Reed West” center would create bountiful meaningful jobs here. Already established organizations such as Sun Valley Adaptive Sports and The Advocates could tie in well with such a “permanent wellness festival”. The College of Southern Idaho could even expand its nursing center here. Perhaps an owner of one of the locally underutilized hot springs could pipe in some of their healing waters into such a splendiferous spa with government stepping in to help fund construction logistics of the donation.

The relocated airport could even benefit, becoming a busy transport center for the steady streams of patients, visitors, hospital personnel and supplies.

Posttraumatic stress disorder therapies could feature recently advanced Somatic Experiencing, MDMA and Propranolol treatments, as well as other well-proven curative methods-both ancient and newly developed. Even if we are somehow fortunate enough to be without war as the airport shift occurs, Doctors are now seeing that PTSD is a condition that is a normal part of life, which often actually strengthens us. How many times for instance, have you heard someone say about an adverse situation, “I wish it hadn't happened, but I'm a stronger person for it?” A trauma-stren transformation clinic could assist and focus on numerous variables of this.

Let us extend our common senses with high-tech hospital wings, blooming with curative physicians.

You priests and holy leaders who keep so mum about the wars, now are the times to call for fresh miracles. Let us forcefully implore that our Pentagon redirect its forces into tools that enable the blind to again see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk. Let us ask for a peaceful turnover of these suppressed cutting-edge technologies, so we may transform our energies to relieve this terrifying violence, which only perpetuates further violence. Let our common senses soften no more. Those in wheelchair pews ascend over foxy TV skies. Demand that your tax barrels of cash handed to war profiteers is flip-flopped to trickle down just amounts of funds to help our globe spin a little truer, for battle amputees, brain-injured and psychologically traumatized.

Let us hope that our soldiers' hearts heal well enough in this Idaho land to walk again peacefully on the world we worship, and that through another miracle, diplomacy prevails rather than our wrongly “war shipping” of the good earth, with land mines, undepleted uranium and a general malaise to eliminate those who we do not understand.

Movers and shakers heed this clarion call. Come together with equally powerful ideas for the potentially soon to be changed vast ground where Friedman Airport now abounds. It would be nice to have feasibility studies set up in advance to see what else might be achievable for improving our community in positive ways, if the Friedman family continues to stand by this intention.

With the sunny climate, fresh air and clean water inherent to this valley, enhanced by the numerous enlightened compassionate people who flourish here, our community could set a new standard for positive rehabilitation by improving on some of the shortcomings now plaguing Walter Reed Veteran's hospital and hand our modern warriors the deserved special treatment, most have earned.

I ask that our community leaders strongly consider holding a feasibility study, in the near future, to see if this idea or similar ones hold enough water to transform soldier's widow tears into flowing fountains fronting a first class “Friedman Memorial Trauma-Stren Conversion Center.”

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