Friends Hope Loss of Veteran Raises PTSD Awareness

HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. — A memorial service was held on Tuesday for the Army veteran killed in a Haywood County church shootout with police last week.

Friends of 44-year-old Wade Allen Baker say he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his several years in the military. As he’s laid to rest, they hope his death raises awareness of PTSD.

Shannon Sabados says she promised Baker that she would take action. She’s starting a group called The Women Behind The Soldiers Hearts.

“It’s going to be on Facebook and eventually we’ll have an 800 number and it’s not just going to be for the soldiers. It’s going to be for their family,” she says.

Aaron Hoelzer also served in the Army. He and Baker were stationed together for a time in the mid-90s. He says all soldiers have some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“You go for a year long…where at any time you could be attacked. It’s almost like a car accident for 365 days,” he says.

Hoelzer doesn’t know what triggered Baker to hole up inside the Maple Grove Baptist Church last week, dying in a shootout with police. He does know about battlefield stress, one of his brothers-in-arms taking a mortar 4 feet away from him.

“It killed him and I survived and that was something that was real hard to deal with for a long time.”

Hoelzer applauds a Veterans Administration plan to place soldiers who’ve experienced PTSD as counselors. He’s even applied to be one. He says that way a soldier is more likely to open up.

Baker leaves behind a big family including nine children. As a family lays their loved one to rest, these two friends say you can remember the Baker family with prayers or donations to aGoFundMe account.

“I want to make things as easy for the children so they don’t have to suffer any more than what they do,” says Sabados.


About briandmahan

Following a catastrophic automobile accident several years ago, I began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was hit by one of two cars that were racing on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. And, although I walked away from the accident, I began to have several FULL-BLOWN panic attacks a day (I didn’t even know they were panic attacks; I just thought I was going crazy). But, after just a few sessions with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, my anxiety and panic attacks ceased and I haven't had one in 9 years. In fact, my life changed so dramatically and quickly, I decided to train in the same technique. Upon completing a three-year training program studying Somatic Experiencing, the work of Peter Levine, PhD., my self-obsessed passion for healing and personal transformation shifted. I've been blessed to be able to help and assist other survivors of unresolved past traumatic events, who suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression and Stress to feel safe, joyful and to take take control of their lives again. And, now, I consider that car wreck to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s my passion for the past 9 years to share my story, experience, and know-how with others, like you, who may simply have been trying to heal with the wrong approaches. (You can’t heal a toothache by getting a massage.) I am not a psychologist, a medical doctor or a spiritual healer. I am a trauma survivor. And I have come to understand that PTSD, anxiety, panic, stress and depression are physiological conditions more so than they are psychological disorders. I hold retreats, workshops and free seminars, focused on establishing a sense of safety and re-awakening embodiment through healing stress and trauma. I also offer one-on-one sessions both face-to-face for local clients and by Phone and SKYPE for clients nationwide and internationally.
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