Hometown Hero: Operation TBI Freedom

Operation TBI Freedom is this year's Community Partner Hero.

Operation TBI Freedom is this year’s Community Partner Hometown Hero for their work with veterans and active duty military members who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or other combat-related trauma.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Since Operation TBI Freedom began in 2008, the organization has served more than 2,000 individuals and their families.

“In the Army culture we call it battle buddies. You never leave your battle buddy behind, and we’re not going to leave our veterans behind,” said Frederick Hinton, eligibility specialist for Operation TBI Freedom.

Operation TBI Freedom works with veterans and active duty military members who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other combat-related trauma.

“We offer non-clinical case management. What that means to us is we really walk the journey with the veteran that has suffered the TBI,” said program manager Susan Holmes.

Case managers create life plans for their clients, which cover all aspects of real life.

“Anything that’s going on in their lives. So it could be their medical or their mental health aspect, it could be something going on directly with their injury, but it also could be their financial situation, housing, familial support structures,” said Holmes.

“We’re Colorado first and we’re Colorado proud of our veterans here,” said Hinton. “We want to put them first and those that have a TBI are dealing with a lot of invisible wounds.”

Hinton now works for Operation TBI Freedom, but he was once a client himself.

“I was in a dark place. I didn’t want to do much of anything. I started to isolate myself and I’m married, 24 years of marriage. I have three kids and I was just out there flapping in the wind,” he said.

Hinton has a TBI and served in the Army for 21 years.

“I didn’t have a purpose when I got out,” he said.

He’s since found his purpose again, serving those he used to serve alongside.

“This truly is a calling for everybody that works here, what we do, we don’t do it for the money. We do it because we care about our brothers and sisters and we do it for all branches of service,” Hinton said.

Holmes said the reason why the program works is because people like Hinton do care.

‘Every single case manager out there is a 20-plus year veteran,” she said. “They’ve all been there and done that. They speak the language.”

“We don’t want them to be a statistic,” said Hinton. “We don’t want them to end up being a number, because they’re not a number. They’re important to us and they should be important to everybody else.”

Hometown Heroes will get their awards March 16 during a dinner at the Broadmoor.

To get involved with the Red Cross, visit redcross.org .

To learn more about Operation TBI Freedom, visit craighospital.org .  

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