COPPERAS COVE — Charlene McCay was smiling Saturday as she watched her son and his best friend get belted into go karts before taking a run on the track at Camp Triumph in Copperas Cove.
“I didn’t even know this place existed,” she said as she leaned against the metal railing under the shelter where the go karts were parked. “And we’re usually all over Texas doing everything.”
McCay and her boyfriend both are dealing with PTSD as a result of their service in the military. She’s grateful that the Texas Veterans Ranch and Family Resort works with families dealing with PTSD and that the group holds their free Family Fest each year at Camp Triumph.
“I think its a really nice event,” McCay said, adding that she and her son would definitely be coming back next year.
“They’re already enjoying themselves,” McCay said of Kayson and his friend, Zakiyah Lee.
That’s music to the ears of Alondo Waters, the founder of Texas Veterans Ranch.
“The event today is to celebrate family,” Waters said as he greeted people at the entrance to the camp. “We stress that family is the core to healing PTSD. You have to have a strong support group, and to emphasize the we just tell people to come out and have a good time with (their) family.”
There is no charge to anyone who comes to the event, and Waters said the idea is to make sure those who come have a stress-free day.
“Just have a good time,” Waters said.
The group leases ranch sites throughout Texas and then brings families dealing with post-traumatic stress to those locations, offering counseling to help them work through the obstacles caused by PTSD.
“It costs us about $5,000 to bring a family out to a therapeutic ranch site,” Waters said, “so we ... let people know what our goals are for the year and raise money that way.”
The group’s annual fundraising goal is $50,000, and donations can be made at the group’s website, www.tvrafr.org.