Program helps veterans and spouses transition to civilian life

- Many veterans returning from combat have a difficult time transitioning back to civilian life. It is often hard on relationships. On the shore of Lake Allatoona there's a place that's helping veterans and their families.

The Veterans Village is on the grounds of the YMCA High Harbour Camp. There is a chapel and a conference center where couples get counseling, activities at the lake and an extensive ropes course.

"They are so richly engaged with energy they have a difficult time coming back down particularly after a theater of war, this gives them the adrenalin rush and the ability to calm down right after that and to level their emotional state," said Michael Roberts, founder of Warrior2Citizen.

Michael Roberts founded Warrior2Citizen, a non-profit organization to help veterans transition to civilian life. In addition to time at the Veterans Village, couples get six months of counseling.

"Of those 80 couples, only two of them have separated and a quarter of them renewed their wedding vows," said Roberts.

Georgia Army National Guard Warrant Officer Gina Carrell was one of them. She was deployed to Afghanistan, leaving her husband Ken, who is also in the Georgia Army National Guard, home with their 4 children.

"The program focused on issues for every marriage, but also included the stress that comes with the military," said Officer Carrell.

State Senator Hunter Hill is a former Army Ranger. He knows the struggle many veterans face when they return home and how hard it can be to a relationship.

"The intensity of the war experience and that suddenly goes away and you're coming back into your family life and maybe your spouse doesn't understand what you've been through," said Sen. Hill.

As Chairman of the Veterans Military and Homeland Security Committee in the State Senate, he said there are not enough government programs that help veterans and their families.

"Sometimes people need someone to walk with them through that and have some counseling and that's what Warrior2Citizen does," said Sen. Hill.

The Veterans Village plans to expand over to include family cabins to get children involved. Already the YMCA offers children of couples who have been through the program free summer camp.

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