CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The holiday season can be a difficult time of year for veterans.
- Camaraderie Foundation provides military families with resources
- The organization put together family fun day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The Camaraderie Foundation, an Orlando-based organization, is making sure post 9/11 military families get the help they need now and year round.
The organization is providing them with therapy, counseling and other programs at no cost. Part of its mission includes planning family fun days for the veterans and their families.
On Saturday, families spent the day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It was an opportunity to spend time with each other and cope with the hardships of life after serving overseas.
"In the military when you're stationed at a base or something you have that real tight knit group of units," said Neftali Rodriguez, executive director of the foundation.
He says sometimes when you come home, it can be difficult to cope without others around.
"PTSD is not just the veteran. It affects the entire family," he added.
The Inmans were one family that attended the event at CMA. Erin Inman's husband served two tours in Iraq. He was at a counseling event on Saturday, so Erin and their two daughters attended the family fun day.
"My husband has invisible injuries so, so often people look at him and go, 'well what's wrong with you. You're not missing a limb.' He is in place now where he's not letting his injuries define him," she said.
His progress means the family is progressing.
"He's a totally different person. He's like the person that you want to be around instead of the one you don't," said Brianna Inman, the couple's daughter.
The Inmans say they're thankful this organization has helped them through the tough times.
"You can just let it out and be told what you're feeling is normal. It's really helpful and empowering to keep going forward," Erin Inman said.
Rodriguez says the foundation needs help from the community to continue assisting the veterans. He says there are more than 17,000 post 9/11 veterans living along the I-4 corridor.