“What a miracle it was, just to see him eating Thanksgiving dinner,” Ray said.
But his journey to healing was just beginning.
On Christmas Day, Snowden was transferred to Richmond, Va., and two months after that, moved to a facility in Dripping Springs, Texas, with the help of financial assistance from the Veterans Administration.
“It was six months of rehab and it was the only rehab that Chad really had,” Ray said.
Because Snowden wasn’t progressing in the program in Dripping Springs, he was moved to Waco and placed in a lockdown psych ward for two years and, following that, lived in a nursing home for seven months.
Due to the partial loss of his frontal lobe, Snowden’s thought process is a little slower than normal, meaning he speaks and acts before the thought process occurs.
“His issues were not addressed appropriately, nor did he go to a proper behavior modification program specific for his type of [traumatic brain injury],” Ray said. “They just treated him like a mental patient.”
In all, Snowden went through eight facilities over the last 10 years, got married and divorced and was incarcerated in Denton County on a domestic violence charge. While going through the legal system, Snowden came in contact with veteran advocate Brian Hayes, a 21-year veteran himself.
Hayes, along with Ray, helped put together a legal team and got Snowden released from prison.
“In Chad’s case, it was a case of domestic violence but he’s not a violent person. A lot of courts today are dealing with veterans with mental issues and they don’t really know what to do,” Hayes said.
After much research, Ray, using contacts from her position as a former Texas state representative for the severely wounded, discovered the Eisenhower Center near Ann Harbor, Mich., a facility that deals specifically with people suffering from traumatic brain injuries.