134. Bring Our Troops Home, Just Not To Our Town

Nadia McCaffrey2008 Associated Press Photo

Dear Friends and Wanderingvets:

There is a small town of just over 2,400 people called Guerneville, California. Make sure you pronounce it Gurn-ville…or they may stress you out about it.

As they are driving around with their yellow ribbons in support of the troops, planning the 4th of July Parade, taking Veterans Day off from work… others have been busy, it seems.  Some of these wonderful people took time off from their busy schedules and recently aided in protesting the construction of a Home for War Veterans. They are worried that the Veterans, suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, will start committing Suicide! Murder! Mayhem! in their small, scenic community.

Of course I would imagine that this wonderful community, if asked, would all say that they support Veterans.

Nadia McCaffery, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, wants to set up at least three group homes around the country where vets with PTSD can live temporarily, virtually for free, while they study at college or work on a farm. Donations are paying for the projects, she said.

McCaffery has answered numerous questions, been to hearings and has been issued a building permit.  She has a building under construction to house six PTSD diagnosed Veterans.

A stop work order was given by Sonoma County.

The county issued the stop-work order because the project exceeded the scope of the plans that were filed, said Shems Peterson, Sonoma County supervising building inspector. Among other things, the project had unauthorized plumbing. Also, a wall meant to divert landslides was deemed insufficient. Nothing that cannot be overcome, it seems.

Neighbors have complained about the need to cut down several Redwoods to make way for the home, the lack of parking and the size of the building, which would house six veterans. (These Redwoods must be even more special than the ones that were recently razed for new home construction within one tenth of a mile of the McCaffery building site.)

For some reason, all sorts of questions have arisen, such as:  Who will be on the board of directors? Who is the president of the board? Who will staff the facility? What brand of dishwashing liquid will they use?

McCaffrey said screening would be done by veterans and a psychiatrist, and supervision would come in the form of volunteers from a nearby veteran’s clinic. “We will not accept anyone who is not completely functional,” she said.

I imagine that the good citizens of Guerneville, CA must be the most conscientious of people when it comes to donating to non-profits and charities if they demand all this information every time there is a decision to be made regarding charitable effort.

Of course the local PTSD specialist (not), who happens to live across the street from the half completed veterans housing, said:

“One person was concerned that even firecrackers would set these people off,”


“Generally PTSD guys are normal people. But,” he added, some are shell-shocked and they need to be in an institution.” 

Has this fellow been watching re-runs of Platoon? Does he think Rambo is going to come through his living room from across the street? I do hope this man is not left on the streets too much longer himself. Actually, someone from his town needs to stop by and check on his mental health.

The only issue here is that a woman has decided to do something great for Veterans.  For that, members of a community are coming down on her head and terrific vision.

I do not understand, in a society where other sufferers of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder are free to live wherever they choose (as they should), how Veterans, those who have fought for those freedoms, are singled out and considered suspect and unworthy.  PTSD is a wound that is not limited to those who have served in the military; it affects those who have been involved in a threatening, harmful and traumatically stressful experience – hence, the name.  I would imagine that even in Guerneville, CA , those who suffer from it are welcome, and without protest.

Perhaps just not those suffering from combat-related PTSD.

Is this the motto of Guerneville? “Bring our troops home… just not to our town!!!”

Or, will someone or some group in Guerneville, California come forward and do the right thing for Nadia McCaffery and those Veterans she is going to aid?


Additional source(s): http://wral.com/news/national_world/national/story/2602245/


5 Responses to “134. Bring Our Troops Home, Just Not To Our Town”

  1. March 20, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I’m so unimpressed by folks who have the NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) attitude.

    Maybe they should be known as “NUMBY’s”

    I know many many Vets who have some degree of PTSD. Most of them, live perfectly normal lives. Usually, their PTSD manifests itself in nightmares and sensitivety to loud noises.

    Shame on the media, the VA and other fools who perpetuate the myths about PTSD.

    In fact, I have a NIMBY attitude about them.

  2. 2 Jim
    March 23, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Ive spent time in a couple of VA’s and yes, even a pysch hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio for various medical and substance abuse treatment.
    I have met many vets with PTSD and I can say first hand that most often you wouldnt know it unless they mention in thru conversation. Nope, didnt see no ramboism or naked vets covered in shoe polish creeping thru the brush with knives between thier teeth. Just everyday people with issues that had the sense to try to seek help. Hardly a threat to the community. Mentally ill? Substance abusers? Umm..they didnt start out like that. Last time I looked, the military dont take the metally ill and alchoholic/drug abusers.
    My father suffered PTSD. He was a Marine in WWII in the pacific . He was so tight lipped about where he was at or what he did, that i can honestly say…I just know he was there. He seemed normal. The only telltale signs were at certain times of the year hed become withdrawn, quiet and somber. Other things would trigger these symptoms such as certain odors and every so often he’d become real quiet and uneasy at dusk. Uneasy, not pyscho and running thru the neighborhood eating cats and shooting mailboxs.
    My only answer to these people is simply this…they dont deserve the honor of living amongst the hororable.

  3. 3 Unluckyone
    March 25, 2008 at 8:58 am

    PTSD is not just a “veteran” disorder and people need to get real. I guess these same people would object to the surviving victims of the World Trade Center attack moving in next door too? not to forget rape victims? victims of child abuse? or victims of many other violent attacks on thier mind, body or soul? 😦 I truly believe that people have no respect for veterans, or the sacrifices they make or made for others and they just find any old way to show disrepect to the vet ….. prayers going up for Nadia McCaffery for her efforts to honor her son’s memory by serving others…

  4. 4 veteranchick
    September 22, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I am a female veteran in Sonoma County with PTSD from military sexual trauma. Even I would like to stay at Veterans Village, and I bet some of these folks would like to scare me out of that opportunity! Please people, read up on this disorder and understand, most of us ask for help and support. Crazy people don’t do that. I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, and last, a Veteran. I need to heal, and thank you Mrs. Mc Caffrey for looking out for those of us who are actually traumatized and sensitive to death and destruction. We are treated like anomolies by more than just some of the paranoid residents of Guerneville. There are great folks there, though, which is why the site was most likely chosen. Peaceful surroundings, kind neighbors. Let’s get back to reality, folks. The war and our governments’ affairs were not our plan or invention…we are merely former soldiers, doing our jobs and are now simply victims coping with Trauma and asking for YOUR support. I pray this can be completed with love and care, with compassion and understanding, lives can be forever changed. Where is the love, Guerneville?

  5. 5 Linda Speel
    September 30, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Its to bad Guerneville has to take the hit for being anti Veterans when its been a town full of Vets for many years. You see them in all shapes and forms on the streets. This is one town that needs Nadia’s Veteran Village. That house wasn’t ideal but a start and its sad another location wasn’t offered.
    If the Veterans aren’t openly cared for they show up anyway in other ways.

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