Name: SFC Jorge I. Velez Carrion
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Deployment: Afghanistan & Liberia
Wish: A Television & Gaming Console for "Stay-at-Home" Family Time & Video Therapy
of Goal Raised
Description of Injury:
Custom Entertainment Space and Gaming System
SFC Jorge I. Velez Carrion is currently a warrior in transition and is assigned to the WTU (Warrior Transition Unit) aboard Ft. Hood, Texas. Prior to being assigned to WTU, SFC Velez Carrion was deployed to Afghanistan and was stationed at Camp Phoenix. During 2006, he was completing his daily physical training near the front gate of Camp Phoenix when a vehicle-born IED detonated just outside the gate and caused him to be thrown to the ground. After regaining consciousness, he was still disoriented for an unknown length of time while he struggled to make sense of the situation. Shortly after going through this explosion, he was stationed at the front gate and witnessed a local national being killed by his own people and had to make the choice of whether or not he could safely retrieve the local's body. These events have left SFC Velez Carrion Carrion with severe PTSD.
After his deployment to Afghanistan, SFC Velez Carrion was deployed to Liberia to support the Ebola outbreak quarantine initiatives. He was an engineer building the Ebola Treatment Centers all over the country of Liberia. During the construction, he was hit on the head by a heavy wood stud. This impact caused him to be diagnosed with epilepsy.
Suffering from severe PTSD and its symptoms, it is very difficult for SFC Velez Carrion to socialize or participate in places with crowds of people or in events with a significant amount of noise and stimulation. This has affected his ability to spend time with his wife and children outside the home setting, as he attempts to avoid social situations that may trigger a variety of debilitating PTSD symptoms, including seizures.
SFC Velez Carrion is concerned that his inability to participate in social events outside his home is affecting his relationship with his children, which may be heightened even more as they get older. Grasping for ways to continue interacting with his wife and children, and at the same time providing him with a place to decompress and be alone when he becomes too agitated, SFC Velez Carrion scraped together the finances over the last year to turn a spare room into a "quiet" room and more of a "family-social" type space in their home. It's less about the physical space, and more about purchasing some type of entertainment system that might include a television, a gaming system, therapeutic or sports oriented games or video/audio programming that he and his children can share together. Part of his therapy is to watch or listen to relaxation audio or visual programs, which helps him "come down" from a hyper-aroused state and provides a sense of safety for a while.
On top of his PTSD symptoms, SFC Velez Carrion is separating from the Army in December 2016 due to these injuries. He will be transitioning to the Veterans Administration, however, there is typically a several months lag time before one starts receiving benefits, putting even additional strain on his financial situation right before the holidays.
"Having a space for me to spend time with my kids, and more important, for them to want to spend time with me, is all I'm asking for. While the entertainment space is also therapeutic for me, the best therapy would be to connect with my wife and children at this critical time of our lives."