Skip Navigation

UMTV: Battle Buddies Mentor Veterans


Those who work with troops returning from combat estimate that more than 50% struggle with PTSD. And vets from previous wars, including WWII and Vietnam, continue to suffer from trauma-related disorders. The Veterans Administration offers free mental health services in major cities but 40% of veterans return to rural areas. Battle Buddies is a peer-counseling program that helps vets get the support they need. Learn more about the program in this encore of a 2012 story.

View more at

Read the Terms of Use


(Voice of Staff Sgt. Tim Galloway, U.S. Air Force)
"I deployed to Afghanistan a total of six times."

(Voice of Sgt. Gregory Linton, U.S. Marine Corps)
"We did patrols in Fallujah. We did patrols in Ramadi."

Sgt. Gregory Linton, U.S. Marine Corps:
"There's probably about 20 of us that are real close and in that group, two, two people have committed suicide.They just couldn't deal with what they came home and had to fight with."

Staff Sgt. Tim Galloway:
"Coming back home was very difficult."

Sgt. Gregory Linton:
"The insomnia, the night terrors."

Staff Sgt. Tim Galloway, U.S. Air Force:
"In a moment when I would feel happy, I would sort of stop myself, and be like 'You've failed. You've failed big time in allowing these people to die. Maybe you shouldn't allow yourself to feel happy in this moment.'"

Dr. Al Brewster, Co-founder, Southern Maryland Battle Buddies:
"The sights, the smells, the fears, the guilt over the buddies that didn't come home, those are things that are best talked about with other vets."

(Locator: Prince Frederick, Maryland)

(Brewster in meeting) "We need some more&ellipsis;"

(Voice of Dr. Al Brewster)
"I'm Dr. Al Brewster, one of the founders of Southern Maryland Battle Buddies. I'm a member here at Trinity United Methodist Church and a licensed clinical social worker. I've been interested in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since my days in Vietnam."

(Rivera in meeting) "Disabled American Veterans, the DAV&ellipsis;"

(Voice of Dr. Al Brewster)
"We have seven trained Battle Buddies. I'm not training people to be counselors, but I am training them to encourage, to walk the walk, to help get people to appointments if they need to."

(Dufresne in meeting) "Veterans at the library&ellipsis;"

Kathy Dufresne, Vietnam Veteran and Volunteer:
"I'm working with another female veteran. Her counselor referred her to Battle Buddies and that's how we got connected."

Arianna Day, Volunteer, Battle Buddies Volunteer:
"I'm Arianna Day and I'm a volunteer. I, myself, personally have come from three generations of family who have served in the military. This is the closest way for me to serve the country and follow in my father's footsteps."

(Voice of Robert Jenkins) "It's my mansion, my home."

Robert Jenkins, Vietnam Veteran:
"My name is Robert Jenkins, I'm a Vietnam Veteran. I'm a Purple Heart Veteran. Just before I got here, I was in a homeless shelter."

(Rivera talks with Jenkins) "Property insurance."

Robert Jenkins: "Gill and Battle Buddies, they helped me get a place of my own."

Gill Rivera: "You do have a counselor there, right?"

Gill Rivera, Co-founder, Southern Maryland Battle Buddies:
"Robert and I served in Vietnam together. You develop friendships in combat that are really, really close. We depend on each other to keep each other alive. We want to have a program that is vet-to-vet because we understand each other. We know each other's needs."

(Voice of Dr. Al Brewster)
"We have the drop-in center here at Trinity. Anywhere from 13 to 30 percent of our veterans coming back are going to have PTSD. The Veterans Administration has hospitals throughout the country usually in urban areas. Yet, the fact is that over 40 percent of military people come from small, rural demographics."

The Rev. Charles Harrell, Trinity United Methodist Church:
"This is one way that we can be salt and light and really extend the ministry of the church out into the wider community in very practical ways."

(Sound of helicopter)

(Voice of Dr. Al Brewster)
"We're trying to gear up for what we know is coming. As these wars wind down, these guys and gals that are coming home, they need to know that 'Hey, other people have been there, done that' and somehow managed to be okay, and even be happy."


To find out how to volunteer, to donate or to receive help from Southern Maryland Battle Buddies, visit the website.

Or, call this hotline: 443-975-5262. You can also contact Dr. Al Brewster through his church Trinity United Methodist Church in Prince Frederick, MD at 410-535-1782.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Fran Walsh, 615-742-5458.

This story was first posted on May 25, 2012.