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UMTV: Vets and Family Camp

Wounded veterans can face a difficult transition from the front lines to the home front. One special setting offers vets and their loved ones a safe place to reconnect, and spend time with others who understand. Heidi Robinson has the story.


(Lake Oconee, Georgia)

Josh Galle: "Wanna go for a boat ride, Ty?"

After three tours of duty in Iraq, Corporal Josh Galle traded active duty&ellipsis;

Jessica Galle: "It's a dream come true."

(Josh to baby) "Look at this, they're ready for you."

&ellipsis;for daddy duty, alongside wife Jessica.

Josh Galle, Wounded Veteran: "She may not ever have served in combat, but my wife was there behind me all the time."

&ellipsis;which is why, along with six-month-old Ty, they are all part of a new kind of training camp, for returning wounded veterans to reconnect with their families.

Josh Galle: "In four and a half years of marriage, we've only been together probably a year and a half."

At Camp Collinswood in Georgia, support for the Galle family comes from folks who've already been down this road like Vietnam veteran Red Barett.

Red Barett, Vietnam Veteran: "... vets helping vets."

Josh Galle: "There's a lot of guys who go through things on the inside. And people just think that if you can't see a wound it doesn't exist&ellipsis;and that's not true."

(Wheelchair rolls onto boat) "Permission to come aboard."

Camp activities are universally accessible.

Josh Galle: "If you're in a wheelchair, if you have to use crutches, they're not focused on the disability, they're focused on the abilities."

United Methodist volunteers built ramps, wheelchair-accessible cabins and paved nature paths.

Camp director Becky Bocian, who is hearing-impaired herself, is grateful for the normalcy she and others experience here.

Becky Bocian, Executive Director: "So they don't have to say, 'I can't go there, I can't do that,' because they can."

Red Barett, Vietnam Veteran: "You can get out into nature. You can see things. You don't feel like no cripple. You feel like a regular person."

Josh Galle: "It's a place where we can heal, a place where we can recoup and rest."

(Kid on float yells) "It's awesome!"


For more information on this program, contact Camp Collinswood at 404-327-9491.

This story was first published in July, 2009.