Family praises money for military counseling - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Family praises money for military counseling

By Chuck Weber

JENSEN BEACH, FL (WFLX)-A Jensen Beach family has praise for the new military funding bill and its inclusion of millions for counseling.

Ginny Luther lost her son, 24-year old Army Lt. Robert "Bart" Fletcher. He was killed last year by one of his own enlisted men, while investigating missing equipment off the Ft. Hood post in Texas.

It's just one example of the growing problem of soldier-on-soldier violence. After Luther's son was killed, this year saw the massacre at Ft. Hood, and the murders of two soldiers at Ft. Drum in New York, one of the victims a Port St. Lucie man.

This week the U.S. House approved a defense spending bill. Under legislation co-sponsored by local Congressman Tom Rooney, the Defense Appropriations Act includes $372 million for military medical research and $120 million for brain injury and treatment and counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The funding levels are expected to survive in the Senate.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm thrilled," said Luther. "Because at least if nothing else, there's some recognition that there is a problem."

Luther said when her son returned from Iraq, he noticed some soldiers having difficulties being back home. "He kept saying to me, the danger is here-- it's not there," recalled Luther. "Why not give soldiers more knowledge, more skills, tools to be able to manage their emotional state?"

Luther, who works in the field of helping people manage their emotions, has set up a fund in her son's memory. She and her husband hope to eventually establish a program to help the enlisted, and their families, with stress and other emotional issues. To help the Luther's, go to www.ltrobertfletchermemorial.com.

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