Returning from war is not easy. Often our men and women in uniform encounter special challenges. Those suffering from injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) face even more of an uphill climb. One veteran who knows all about PTSD has been offering some unique support for his military brothers and sisters for years. Now, he’s leading another initiative to give our vets even more options to get back on track in civilian life.
Rob Mitchell founded Full Battle Rattle, a non-profit organization, to provide music therapy for veterans. Those dealing with combat-related disabilities learn to play music free of charge. “We teach vets to play guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards,” Mitchell said. Through the program, vets find a constructive outlet. In Mitchell they find a man they can trust.
“I’m someone who has been through the same things, so it’s not just lip service to the vets,” Mitchell said. Mitchell served in uniform for seven years. During that time he was struck by three roadside bombs and countless mortar attacks.
Since returning home, Mitchell has coped with PTSD and a mild brain injury. Despite these difficult circumstances, Mitchell didn’t stop serving when he returned stateside. Instead he was a proud police officer in New Mexico for over six years. His career in blue included more heroism. Mitchell received awards for a gun battle with a homicide suspect and later, he helped save several people, including an infant, from a fire.
Today, Mitchell spearheads Full Battle Rattle. The group pairs qualifying vets with music instructors. The vets receive an instrument and learn how to play. All of it is free of charge. It works. Just ask Mitchell.
After Mitchell started to show signs of PTSD following his stint at an Air Force base, he fell into deep depression. He didn’t feel like talking to his wife or playing with his kids. Things were not right. Then, Mitchell picked up a guitar and started to teach himself some chords. Before long, the old Rob was back. “I remember breaking out of a silence and suddenly asking my wife about what was for dinner,” Mitchell said. The healing power of music broke through like a ray of sunshine.
In order to assist others, Mitchell established Full Battle Rattle. The group has helped Mitchell and many other veterans ever since. Because of the group’s effectiveness, Mitchell is now working on another ambitious project called The Battle Forge.
Instead of using music as an outlet, The Battle Forge give veterans instruction in the art of blacksmithing. The goal is to forge a new path for veterans by teaching the lost art of blacksmithing as a constructive outlet for PTSD, TBI, and other service-connected disabilities.
In order to raise money to help our veterans learn to blacksmith, The Battle Forge is conducting a T-shirt drive. You can pick up one of the great looking shirts by visiting https://teespring.com/forging-a-new-path-for-veteran#pid=2&cid=2397&sid=front.
Full Battle Rattle provides opportunities for veterans across the country. Any eligible vet that does not live near New Mexico, can have an instrument shipped to them and receive instruction over the computer. Meantime, The Battle Forge is just taking off. With Mitchell behind the initiative, the sky’s the limit.
For more information on Full Battle Rattle and The Battle Forge, including how to sign-up, volunteer, or donate, email [email protected]. To hear an in-depth Mama Grizzly Radio interview with Rob Mitchell all about The Battle Forge visit www.mamagrizzlyradio.com.Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.