TUSCARORA TOWNSHIP -- Standing next to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in front of family and friends, Army veteran Travis Rupert talked about his life after leaving the service.
Inside the "Hunts for Healing" building near Laceyville, Travis Rupert talked about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. He described how one stop at the Lycoming Valley Mall saved his life.
“I wouldn’t be here without Hunts for Healing. I really wouldn’t. It’s given me a purpose, it's given me a reason to pick my head up off my pillow,” Rupert.
Rupert joined the military in 2001 and was injured in 2006 when his Humvee was struck by a bomb. He ended up suffering back injuries and could no longer serve.
“I felt broken and that was even just getting out I hadn’t had that much surgery at that point and time. The Army knew I was broke,” said Rupert.
Rupert says this nonprofit organization called "Hunts For Healing" helps veterans from across the United States get back on their feet.
Once a veteran arrives in Bradford County, there are different activities, mainly going outside and hunting in an effort to help heal the wounds we can’t see.
“They are going to see just like everyone else who comes through that I do have a purpose I can continue on,” said Rupert.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro listened to stories like Travis Rupert’s and many others.
“Whether it’s opioid addiction, whether it’s suicide, whether it’s not getting the services they need and so it’s up to us to make sure our vets have the protection the resources and the help,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Rupert believes this state money will help vets who come to hunts for healing.
“You pick each other up, you don’t let another man behind. That’s something that all the mentors here at Hunts for Healing like to emulate because if you don’t leave them behind and you pick them up and bring them with you, eventually they are going to start walking on their own again,” said Rupert.