D’IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi is hosting a group of veterans from around the region this weekend. These men and women are enjoying a fun agenda full of activities. They’re also accessing some very important resources.
Theresa Botts started hosting the Spartan Weekend with her husband, an injured Marine last year here at the Scarlet Pearl. We forget to have fun. “That’s what this is about. Having fun,” said Botts.
They invited veterans from all walks of life and all across the region to enjoy a relaxing weekend. "If you bring them all together in one environment they're able to validate each other," said Botts.
The event made such an impact on Air Force veteran Edward Lewis last year, that he became a volunteer to help the program succeed. “To see veterans in all different types of circumstances reaching out to each other. Creating a continuous bond, especially with this organization that concentrates so much on the awareness for veteran suicide, it’s to create a buddy system,” said Lewis.
The weekend provided veterans with important resources, and gave them a chance to network and provide support for one another. "You can fall into a depression so easy. Hearing another veteran, hey he was able to do this, or check out this, or there's this program. Or just information and programs," said Army veteran Chanda Gaeth.
Gaeth came from Texas for the retreat, and met a fellow Army vet, Johnnie Alexander, from Florida. The two bonded over their common interest in wheelchair athletics, which something that Alexander said gave him new life. "There's other things that you can do to enhance your life, that's the best way to put it. You don't have to sit home and be alone," he said.