Helping those who serve: Local man starts support group

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) Research has found nearly 30% of first responders and veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Scott Leeper is on a mission to help by starting a support group, in partnership with the VFW Post 360.

"Veterans and first responders and seen and done things that the majority of the public will never experience," Leeper said. "In our area alone, there’s not a lot of outlets for veterans and first responders in order for them to release some of these things."

It’s a project Leeper is especially passionate about after his life was nearly derailed by personal tragedy he struggled to deal with.

"The catalyst event was my taking my dad off life support," Leeper said. "... I was an active-duty Marine at the time, and my son was born three months after my dad died. I then started to cheat on my wife while she was going through post-partum depression. We worked things out and are still together, but the command found out and I was discharged from the military. At the time, a very deep victim mentality."

Scott began to immerse himself in self-help books and meditation, slowly beginning the healing process. He now wants to share that process with local veterans and first responders through a free support group held once a month at the VFW.

To learn more about the support group, click here.