SPOKANE, Wash.—A local veteran group is helping treat post-traumatic stress disorder by tapping into some personal talents.
LightBenders is a group for veterans run by veterans that gives them a camera and an opportunity to learn photography and editing skills.
U.S. Navy veteran Christopher Chaffee said he started the program in the Inland Northwest last year.
Chaffee said his service in Vietnam left him with PTSD but his passion and skills for photography gave him a way to cope.
“It allowed me to see beauty in the world again, and break me out of the ruminating thoughts of past combat experience,” said Chaffee.
Retired Army Corporal Noel Pierce said photography helped him deal with PTSD.
"I had been enduring and dealing with it from 2007 up until this last year. I was trying medication, let's try therapy, let's try this medication, let's try this therapy, and little progress. And, then I got this opportunity,” said Pierce.
Pierce said PTSD robbed him almost a decade of happiness but now he lives to explore the outside world and find the perfect shot.
Chaffee said his mission for the program is to put a dent in the number of veteran suicides that happen daily.