Weatherford Democrat

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January 21, 2014

A journey to healing


“They had worked with other severely brain-injured veterans and after I interviewed extensively with them, I knew this was where Chad need to be,” Ray said. “As a behavior modification program, they’re one of the top in the country.”

Ray contacted the Veterans Administration to seek financial assistance for a 12-month rehab program in Michigan, and was informed, via a conference call, that they would not provide funding.

Ray called on the help of the Independence Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping severely injured veterans, which she has worked with and volunteered for the last nine years.

“The founder said they will make sure Chad is taken care of since the VA refused to listen to our requests,” she said. “It’s a year-long program and the cost is around $150,000. The cost is normally higher due to what their program provides, but the Eisenhower Center knew of Chad’s case and said they would match the cost of any other rehab facility out there because they felt they could make a difference.

“This horrific experience has cost my son well over $100,000 over the last two years, just to protect him and get him into the right program.”

After years of bouncing around between facilities, Snowden joined the Eisenhower Center almost two months ago.

“He’s doing very well,” said Hayes, who visits regularly to check on Snowden’s progress. “He’s in a community environment with other civilians like him. He’ll never be perfect — that’s the nature of the injury, but they will continue to work with him over the next year.”

Hayes, who currently has three other clients, said he has seen many cases such as Snowden’s over the last several years.

“The VA has the largest healthcare system, but it’s a one-size fits all,” he said. “With mental health issues, especially of Chad’s magnitude, every case is individualized.

“This is a hometown hero, a war hero, and where he’s at now, he’s getting the care, the treatment and the protocols he needs.”

Anyone wishing to donate to Chad’s cause or contribute to the Independence Fund’s fight for other injured veterans may visit or call 843-813-1309.

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