Veterans learn to cope with traumatizing experiences through writing

Veterans in the Walla Walla Valley are healing with the help of storytelling.

The Red Badge Project helps wounded warriors cope with PTSD and other trauma disorders.

Organizers said they teach veterans how to write and why its important. Some veterans read their pieces out loud or submit them for publication, though it is not required.

The program came to the valley three years ago and has been helping veterans cope ever since. The class sizes are small, for intimacy purposes but they are always encouraging more veterans to participate.

Veterans learn to cope with traumatizing experiences through writing

Warren Etheredge is just one instructor who teaches at the Walla Walla Public Library. He said he does it because he knows how writing can change a person’s life.

“I know that story telling saved my life and I believe that storytelling can — if not save than — improve the lives of veterans who take the challenge of telling their stories,” he said.

Etheredge recalled the story of a married man who kept his emotions bottled up. When he finally shared one of his pieces out loud not only did he heal but it brought him and his wife closer together.

“To see him get that weight off his chest and to see her embrace him for exactly who he is incredibly heartening,” said Etheredge.

Workshops are held in three week increments. The next workshop in this weekend’s series is happening Saturday at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m.

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