What Do You Do Nicole?

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When I started helping to promote Thunder Road I never expected to meet as many amazing people who have been moved to aid this campaign after being inspired by the actions of Astoria Entertainment: Charlie Bewley, Matt Dallas & Steven Grayhm. One of these amazing contributors is Nicole Ross, who kindly shared her experiences of her first convention TVD Dallas and why she is supporting Thunder Road.

Having never attended any convention let alone a TVD Convention Nicole was apprehensive when her husband Jason approached her with the idea, she was still reluctant up until the day of the convention. She was concerned about the last-minute scheduling changes but like all of us was pleasantly surprised by the new guests and welcoming atmosphere of the TVD fandom. Favorite aspects of the convention were listening to the panels where the guests discussed not only working on TVD but also their own lives and challenges they have faced. Nicole and her husband Jason were the lucky winners of a dinner with Charlie Bewley in support of Thunder Road that Creation Entertainment so kindly auctioned off at the end of his panel with Todd Williams on Day 1 of the convention. Nicole was motivated to bid on the auction after hearing Charlie speak about Thunder Road’s mission to help raise awareness of PTSD and the overall struggles faced by Veterans when trying to reintegrate themselves into civilian life.

“PTSD can effect anyone when an individual is in a dangerous situation. The trauma lies within the body of the individual and not the actual event. Often times people can exit an event and never show signs of PTSD, while others, may develop PTSD from an incident other’s may perceive as mild. It all depends on how our bodies respond in our Threat Response Cycle. Our troops are returning home as heroes, but often times, with the vision of a hero we do not expect any weaknesses.  In reality our troops are pushed to the edge of their Threat Response Cycles, creating a constant state of alert, scanning the environment, and acting on the natural response of flight or flight.  PTSD develops when an individual is unable to properly discharge the flight or fight response, creating a freeze state. These freeze states are triggered in individuals with PTSD through sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc, thus keeping the individual in a constant state of hypervigilance. By getting involved in the Thunder Road project, I am hoping even more of our population can begin to understand the depth of trauma through the use of the film. PTSD effects more of our population than we believe.  Understanding the signs, symptoms, and ways we can help can assist in prevention of suicide, mental health barriers, and offering appropriate services to people who need access to them.”   – Nicole Ross

As the owner and clinic director of The Creative Therapy Center Nicole’s practice focuses on dealing with PTSD. NIcole has over 13 years of experience as a mental health therapist and employs a variety of therapeutic techniques to work with trauma such as Play Therapy, sand tray therapy, and Somatic Experiencing at the center. The center focuses on working with children who have PTSD and other mental health disorders. “Play therapy is an opportunity for an individual to use play techniques to address difficult mental health issues.  Play therapy can be adapted to work with all age groups from small children to adults.  I use a non-directive play therapy model with children ages 2 – 12, a directive play therapy approach with children struggling with cognitive skills, and sand tray therapy with adolescents and adults.” explains Nicole “Anyone can benefit from play therapy techniques.  Even when I am having a difficult day or looking for some clarity I will enter my sand tray room and create a sand tray.  So much information can be gathered through unspoken words, metaphors, and ideas.  The journey is in the hands of the client.  It is their story to tell, and it is my job to be present to hear and honor their story.” Nicole also travels around the United States presenting on trauma, the effects of trauma, and how we can all work to prevent, reduce, and treat trauma symptoms.

Inspired by her personal work with PTSD to aid the campaign; Nicole and her husband Jason have been diligently fundraising for the campaign. They teamed up with Modify Tattoo and raised $1000, they also held a drink tab night at The Other Bar in Foley MN where they raised $300 and gave away a $100 gift card that was won by a lucky Veteran. Jason and Nicole have also created a wonderful fundraiser in support of Thunder Road. On September 22, 2013 Jason will be “Breaking Boards for PTSD” with all proceeds going to the Thunder Road campaign.
For more about Nicole’s work visit The Creative Therapy Center’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeTherapyCenter and for more about Nicole visit her blog.
You can also donate directly to Thunder Road on Indiegogo.


Military Wives…

Military Wives

I would like to recognize these often underestimated, unseen, and unheard heroes.

This is for the sad Military wives, the angry Military wives,and the strong Military wives.

This is for the young women that are waking up at 6 a.m. every morning, laying out clothes and packing three lunches for those small precious children that they have been left alone to care for.

This is for the pregnant Military wife wondering if her husband will make it home in time to watch their miracle happen.

This is for the childless Military wife, living in a town or on a base alone where she is a complete stranger to her surroundings.

This is for the women that feel like a third leg when they go out with their friends and their husbands.

This is for the Military wife that cancelled all her plans to wait by the phone, and even though the phone broke up and cut off every time you spoke to him you waited anyway.

This is a pledge to the women that cry themselves to sleep in an empty bed.

This is to recognize the woman that felt like she was dying inside when he said he had to go, but smiled for him anyway.

This is for those of you that are faithfully in that long line at the post office once a month, handling 2 large boxes and 2 small children like a pro.

This is for that woman that decided to remodel the house to pass time, and then realized that she had no idea what she was doing and sighed and wished she had a little help.

This is for all the lonely nights, all the one-person dinners, and all of the wondering thoughts because you haven’t heard from him in days.

A toast to you for falling apart, and putting yourselves back together. Because a pay check isn’t enough, a body pillow in your bed is no consolation, and a web cam can never compare.

This is for all of you no matter how easy or hard this was for you. Our soldiers/sailors are brave, they are heroes, but so are we.

So the next time someone tells you that they would never marry a Military guy, don’t bother explaining to them that you can’t control who you fall in love with. Just think of this and nod your head, know that you are the stronger woman.

Hold your heads up high, hang that flag in your front yard, stick 100 magnets on your car, and then give yourself a pat on the back.

Be proud to be the woman that you are, be proud to be a Military wife

Support the men and women who support us pledge: Thunder Road Feature Film

Thunder Road Film: Movie With A Message

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When Steven Grayhm, Charlie Bewley and Matt Dallas of Astoria Entertainment approached mainstream Hollywood to pitch their film Thunder Road they were met with a less-than-stellar reception. Hollywood wasn’t interested in a gritty, honest tale of the human condition and the epidemic of PTSD among our returning veterans. Taking their story to the public they launched a crowdfund campaign originally on Kickstarter.com to raise funds to produce their movie their way. With two weeks left to reach their goal on Kickstarter they have now changed platforms to Indiegogo which allows more freedom for people donating, there’s been an outpouring of public support but much more is needed, please consider supporting this campaign which will create awareness of this important issue.
Throughout the campaign I have been fortunate enough to meet people who have been personally affected by PTSD and wanted to share why they support and want others to support Thunder Road.

“Help make an impact on this nation’s understanding of PTSD by supporting this film. Our hearts’ break because we have lost our sons and daughters in this war. Our brave young men and women are coming home with so many problems due to the sights and experience of war. With the loss of friends, brothers and sisters, they need to know that this nation understands the silent pain that they bear. No one who has served this country like our Heroes have should ever be in a place where they feel alone, misunderstood, or just unloved because of where they have been or what they have seen. Please help me in supporting this project, odds are that you have someone in your family or neighborhood who has come home from war and is “just not the same”. We need to embrace them, stand with them, and let them know they are not forgotten. We are thankful for their service and for having stood in the gap of FREEDOM for the citizens of this grateful nation. The young men that were with my son, Shawn Hefner, while he served in Afghanistan are now suffering from PTSD because of the sights of war and witnessing their brother in arms die by stepping on an IED. It is very important to me to help these brave young men know that they are loved by Shawn’s family. Each and every one of these young men have told me stories in which they feel they are responsible for Shawn’s death. The survivors’ guilt is so strong that some of them have had a hard time spending time with me. I feel like they relive Shawn’s death when they talk to or see me. I have made it my mission to reach out to them all. I want them to understand that I know what they had to do, I know the condition his body was in and that it no longer had to be “the silent memory” when they interacted with Shawn’s family. This last visual memory can be released, and they can remember Shawn laughing, telling jokes and just being a positive force in a place of war. I have heard amazing stories of the things my son did that saved the lives of many in this group. They hold his memory so dear, that we have become a part of their family as they are a part of ours. My marine sons are a very special group of men, they have my respect for their choice to serve this country and I am honored that my son touched their lives as he served and died for this great country. Helping to promote this movie “Thunder Road”, to educate America about PTSD and an understanding of just what war does to the hearts of these heroes, is so dear to me. We need to stand with my marine sons and all of our heroes, those who have stood in the gap for our freedoms, and help them to find peace, understanding, and a desire to go forth and live a long, happy and productive life. That is truly the way to honor Shawn and all of our fallen heroes” – Robin Hefner founder of Hico’s Hero her son Shawn P Hefner was KIA 11-13-09

“Woke up a 0300 to get a glass of water. I was extremely sore like most mornings but this was much worse. I pulled myself outta my bed using my attached bed-cane and walked about three steps and made it too the hallway when OH SHIT! My legs went out. I laid there for a moment, thinking what the hell. I tried to get back up but my legs were to sore. So I used my arms to drag myself to the kitchen sink to get water. Then proceeded to low crawl and drag my noodle legs to the recliner chair. It took everything I had to pull myself up. A while went by and eventually Dani (my wife) came out to see what I was doing. I told her “I can’t walk, everything I do to try and stand I fall.” I thought that the epidural I had from the VA went wrong or something. She call for an ambulance while I flopped on the floor with determination to somehow get the hell up using my canes the wall and anything around that was vertical. I know I have problems with my back and left legs after acquiring injuries in Afghanistan. But this was something new. I just seem to get worse as days go by.

Now imagine this is your everyday, pain and worsening pain. Your 29 and can’t hold a job and the government wants to take back some of your 100% disability check to save them money. What you do get does not add up in today’s economy and you still have the rest of your life to live..

The foundation for PTSD is set in stone for this young marine. What are we going to do to make sure he never feels like he’s better off dead? Suicide is a real problem with our young war vets, coping with a life that is nothing like he dreamed of just a few short years ago. Living with physical and mental hardship is something our grandparents deal with not a 20 something your old man with a family to support. Supporting this project to educate America is one the most important thing we can do as free American’s. Learn what PTSD is and lets stop this epidemic of suicide running through our young war HEROES lives.” -Chris O. –Wounded Warrior, Marine – served Afghanistan 2009 – served with Shawn P Hefner

“I just hope they depict PTSD & Veteran issues better than they do currently in the movies. Shit doesn’t end when they come home and attend therapy. The world they live in, we live in, is not the same. You can’t see it with the same eyes. Can’t judge their reactions by what is expected from society. Many have seen things that no human being should be exposed to, many have had to make choices that in a “normal” environment they would never make. And above all…they went to bed not knowing if they would wake up. The effects of PTSD on family members is almost as bad as the PTSD itself… and it is the number one reason for suicide among soldiers. The process of reintegration is too short and soon enough there is another deployment knocking at your door. No time to truly recover and try and pick up the pieces of what once was that person.” – Misplaced Soldier(currently enlisted so anonymity is required)

I’m grateful for these wonderful people for sharing their experiences and I’m hopeful that the public will respond in kind and prove to Hollywood that we as a society care about more than the next big blockbuster and want films to not only entertain but to educate. Pledge your support: www.ThunderRoadFilm.com

End It Movement

END_IT_logo_reverseSlavery still exists, Cathy Glass’ novel Hidden first brought this issue to my attention. In her novel, Glass tells the story of a young boy named Tayo who’s exploited and abused in the horrible world of human trafficking. The saddest part of this story is that it’s true. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to meet Nathaniel Buzolic of theVampire Diaries, who is also trying to bring awareness to the issue through his involvement, with the End It Movement. On April 9, 2013 End It wants to shed light on the horrifying world of human trafficking by asking people to get involved however they can through donations, awareness through social media and in your community. The easiest way to get involved is draw a X on your hand, take a picture and share the photo. Everyone has a right to be free,speak up, be an example, END IT NOW

END IT at theTVD Chicago Convention property of Nathaniel Buzolic