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LiNK }

Traumatic Brain Injury Special Edition

1 in 5 soldiers come home from the war with a traumatic brain injury NEW WAYS TO HONOR OUR WOUNDED D HEROES 1

$75 $75 buys an assistive technology device

MAKE AN HONOR OR MEMORIAL GIFT Recognize someone for their accomplishments, mark a special occasion or honor the memory of a loved one while giving back to soldiers and veterans with traumatic brain injury and their families.

$150 $150 pays for one month of utilities for a family

With your help, we can change the lives of wounded heroes in Colorado. 2

$625 $625 pays for five sessions of cognitive therapy

$1,250 $1,250 pays for one month’s living expenses for a family

$2,500 $2,500 pays for one year of rehabilitation for a client

CREATE A TRIBUTE PAGE Share your loved one’s story with friends and family regardless of whether they live in your hometown or in other parts of the world. You can customize your page by writing a personal story and adding a photo, and visitors can post messages or make a donation. Make an honor/memorial gift or create your tribute page online today! Visit

FOR MORE INFORMATION If you have questions about making an honor/memorial gift or creating a tribute page, or if you would like to request a mail-in form, call 1-877-FUND-OTF.

1-877-FUND-OTF •

Operation TBI Freedom Advisory Board

Dear Reader, Early during the war in Iraq, the volume of soldiers who sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other combat-related injuries challenged the nation to develop new systems of care. Congress passed new mandates to enhance treatment; however, the government initiatives cannot meet all important needs. The Operation TBI Freedom (OTF) program fills many of these gaps with efficiency and flexibility. In the process, veterans and soldiers are welcomed home by their fellow citizens with respect and kindness.

James Schraa, Psy. D., Craig Hospital, OTF Advisory Board Chair Robert Alvarez, M.A., Give An Hour, Marine Jennifer Anderson, Denver Options’ TBI Program Manager Dob Bennett, Founder, OTF Program Stephen Block, Ph.D., Denver Options’ Executive Director Chuck Bruen, Veterans Administration Christine Cook, Army Wounded Warrior Program

I have been a neuropsychologist at Craig Hospital for 27 years and have served on numerous public policy boards of the Brain Injury Association of America. I have also testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in regard to issues related to traumatic brain injury. My background and experience allow me to strongly endorse the Operation TBI Freedom program, operated statewide by Denver Options. Through OTF, Denver Options provides the care coordination to draw together diverse services so veterans and soldiers with TBI can have an organized treatment approach. This organization does an outstanding job of complementing and coordinating services that are offered by various agencies. Additionally, crisis support from OTF buys overwhelmed families precious time to reorganize and move ahead.

Brian Duncan, Ph.D., Warrior Support Center Janie Hirth, OEF/OIF Case Manager, Veterans Administration Susan Holmes, Army Wounded Warrior Program Patrick Kertson, OTF Graduate Kathy Martin, MPA, Denver Options’ Chief Operating Officer Christen Mason, Denver Options’ TBI Program Manager Jason and Meghan Palmer, OTF Participants Father Bill Pounds Gina Ramer, Social Security Administration

Joseph Sorenson Operation TBI Freedom helps increase lifelong productivity and quality of life for these individuals who have served our country Wesley West, US Air Force Colonel (ret.); Vice President/General Manager (ret.), so selflessly. With more and more soldiers coming home from Lockheed Martin Corp. war to Ft. Carson and other locations, the need for timely and comprehensive TBI services in Colorado continues to grow. With The Operation TBI Freedom (OTF) Advisory Board is made your generous support, Operation TBI Freedom can expand their up of a variety of professionals from the traumatic brain injury outreach to help greater numbers (TBI) and veteran services fields, veterans with TBI and family of veterans and their families.

What is the Advisory Board?

members of veterans with TBI.


Dr. James Schraa James Schraa, Psy. D. Craig Hospital OTF Advisory Board Chair

The purpose of the board is to offer guidance and input regarding program services to ensure that OTF isn’t duplicating services already available in the community and that our services are meeting the needs of veterans and their families. The LiNK 6.4 -TBI Edition


>> link to COMMUNITY Operation TBI Freedom was established in 2008 by a private donor, and the program relies entirely on contributions from individuals, companies and foundations. Your generosity means we can continue to provide vital support and advocate for services for TBI survivors and their families.

Steady Support Helps Scott Move Forward After his second tour of duty in Iraq, Army veteran Scott Haas recalled, “I realized I had to get some help. I couldn’t rely on my memory. It was my last day in the Army when one of my buddies suggested I call Operation TBI Freedom.” The problems Scott was experiencing were the result of a combat-related traumatic brain injury (TBI). Scott contacted Operation TBI Freedom (OTF), and he was connected with OTF Care Coordinator Fredia Johnson. “Fredia helped me get my life back on track. She encouraged me to get out of the house and make friends. She also found a therapeutic bed that helps with pain, and she arranged passes for the bus and the Boulder recreation center,” Scott explained. The greatest catalyst in his recovery, however, has been Fredia’s unwavering support. “The most important thing is her being there for me. I call her with questions, ideas and concerns, and she listens. She finds the help I need and aims me in the right direction. That has been the most useful help of all,” he shared.

From his current vantage point, Scott is starting to look forward again. He’s decided to go back to school to earn his RN degree, and he eventually hopes to work as a nurse at the Veterans Administration. “I never dreamed I’d be headed back to school after all these years,” he said. “All the help I’ve received from OTF has made the future look hopeful again.”

She finds the help I need and aims me in the right direction. -Scott Haas

Thank You to Our Community Partners AdoptaPlatoon ArtReach American Red Cross Army Combat-Related Special Compensation Battle Buddy Brain Injury Association of Colorado Brain Train Challenge Aspen Challenged Athletes Foundation The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund Department of Defense Department of Veterans Affairs Disabled American Veterans

For the Fallen Freedom Alliance Give an Hour Grand River Canyon Apartments The Home Front Cares Hope for the Warriors Lakeshore Foundation LearningRX Ombudsman Program Operation First Response Operation Homefront Operation Life Transformed Our Homefront Heroes, Inc. Project Return 2 Work

Project Sanctuary Rebuilding Together Redistribution Center, Inc. ReserveAid Social Security Administration Soldiers’ Angels Stephen King TRICARE Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance VA Vet Centers Warrior Support Center Western Hills Apartments Wounded Warrior Project

Due to our partnerships with these generous organizations, Operation TBI Freedom has connected veterans to $2.4 million worth of services. (as of June 2010) 2 The LiNK 6.4 - TBI Edition

>> link to COMMUNITY Operation TBI Freedom was established in 2008 by a private donor, and the program relies entirely on contributions from individuals, companies and foundations. Your generosity means we can continue to provide vital support and advocate for services for TBI survivors and their families.

Thank You to Our Generous Private Donors Dob and Debbie Bennett Adolph Coors Foundation The Anschutz Foundation Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship El Pomar Foundation The Lighting Agency MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation PCL Construction Enterprises, Inc. The Walter & Georgia Imhoff Family Fund

With your help, we can change lives. Please donate today. • 1-877-FUND-OTF

A Healing Journey Jose Olivero loves words. He says brain injury is like a sentence with missing words. He’s spent three years filling in the blanks. As a Staff Sergeant in Iraq, Jose survived multiple IED assaults. During his third tour, a brain scan revealed damage on both sides of his brain. Returning home with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) brought new challenges. Jose’s wife, Lizette, said tensions were high and bills were piling up. Then they called Operation TBI Freedom for help. Jose smiled remembering his first meeting with Care Coordinator John Lenz. “He became a guiding light when things seemed the darkest,” Jose said. John connected the couple and their four children to free counseling services through First Choice and found financial help through The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. He also encouraged Jose to participate in a social skills group program with other veterans with TBI. Jose values all the support he’s received and says the social skills group has helped him move forward. “Many of us as veterans don’t want to talk about emotions and coping with our injuries. When we met, we understood each other right away. Each person is exactly like me,” he said of his fellow social skills group members. “Together we are uncovering a whole world of new opportunities.” Even though Jose and the other members have completed the program, the group still meets informally on a regular basis. Jose will be managing his TBI for years to come, but he’s turned an important corner. Life is more stable for the family, and he and Lizette welcomed the birth of their fifth child this spring. “Life has meaning again. When we called John, I experienced life in fragments. Many days were filled with confusion and hopelessness,” Jose expressed. “Now life is a complete sentence, without one missing word.”

Now life is a complete sentence, without one missing word.

Read more of Jose’s story and others at

-Jose Olivero

The LiNK 6.4 - TBI Edition


>> link to LIFE

Bicycle Kick-starts Jose’s Recovery Process

Care Coordination Offers Unique Benefits

In August, Jose Santiago completed a six-day, 330-mile bicycle ride that spanned from Cheyenne, WY, to Ft. Carson, CO. An Army veteran and traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor, Jose said the ride was challenging but ultimately rewarding. “It was a tough ride, but every moment was enjoyable,” Jose shared. “I’ve been in Colorado for 11 years, and I’ve never seen parts of Colorado like I saw on this ride.” Jose receives TBI services through Denver Options’ two statewide programs, Colorado Connections and Operation TBI Freedom (OTF). He became interested in biking to improve his health and get outside more, so he expressed his interest to his Colorado Connections care coordinator, Beth Burnett. Beth helped Jose obtain funds through Colorado Connections to purchase a bicycle and helmet. Then Jose received an email from OTF Care Coordinator Fredia Johnson about the six-day bike ride, and he was inspired to learn that other veterans with disabilities were participating. Jose signed up for the challenge and has been hooked ever since. “I get on my bike every day and do 20, 30 or 40 miles,” he stated. “It’s been great to see what has come out of a simple bike purchase,” Beth said of Jose’s accomplishments. “He’s told me that the biking has helped his recovery more than any other therapy he has participated in.”

Care coordination provides a comprehensive, organized approach to recovery for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Our care coordinators work with each individual to provide information, identify resources and coordinate services to ensure each client receives the care they need at the right time. For most TBI survivors, adjusting to their injury and moving forward can seem like a daunting ordeal. “It’s very rewarding assisting my clients through some of the most challenging parts of their lives,” shared Operation TBI Freedom Care Coordinator John Lenz. “I enjoy helping them transition to a new life and achieve independence and hope for their future.” Care coordination helps each individual chart their own path to recovery and success. “Every TBI survivor has different ideas and goals,” said Alonda Martin, a Colorado Connections care coordinator. “The most rewarding part of my job is assisting my clients in achieving these personal aspirations.” Care coordinators also help clients achieve long-term success by facilitating the creation of support networks with friends, family members and other TBI survivors. John makes it a point to connect his clients to each other and to other families in similar circumstances. “The natural support system that develops is something that will be in place long after the client leaves the program,” John stated.

The natural support system that develops is something that will be in place long after the client leaves the program.

-John Lenz OTF Care Coordinator

...biking has helped his recovery more than any other therapy he has participated in.



Jose’s Care Coordinator

4 The LiNK 6.4 -TBI Edition

Alonda Martin, Colorado Connections

ation John Lenz, Operm o TBI Freed

>> link to RESOURCES

Upcoming Events!

TBI Resources Army Community Service Center at Ft. Carson Ph: (719) 526-4590

Brain Injury Association of Colorado

Get Your Life Organized

Tuesday, Nov. 9 – 10:00 AM-2:00 PM Learn strategies to manage finances, community resources and other supports. Sponsored by The Brain Injury Association of Colorado, Denver Options, the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund and Craig Hospital. Rawlings Public Library, 100 E. Abriendo Ave., Pueblo, CO

Brain Injury Survivor Series: Surviving the Holidays

Friday, Nov. 19 – 12:30-2:30 PM Learn practical tips for managing the blues and the stress of the holiday season. Denver Options, 9900 E. Iliff Ave., Denver Free, lunch included

Brain Injury Survivor Series: Treatment Panel and Discussion

Friday, Jan. 14 – 12:30-2:30 PM Experts will discuss different treatment options and solutions that can help you recover and thrive. Denver Options, 9900 E. Iliff Ave., Denver Free, lunch included

Brain Injury Survivor Series: How to Remember, Save and Share Memories Visually

Friday, Feb. 11 – 12:30-2:30 PM Learn fun ways to capture and preserve your memories with or without digital technology. Denver Options, 9900 E. Iliff Ave., Denver Free, lunch included

Lots MORE!

Ph: (303) 355-9969

Colorado Brain Injury Conference Series Ph: (303) 355-9969

Colorado Connections

Ph: (866) 245-6600

Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund Ph: (719) 592-1300

Craig Hospital

Ph: (303) 789-8000

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center Ph: (719) 526-8636

Disabled American Veterans Service Center Ph: (719) 380-8005

Mental Health Center of Denver Ph: (303) 504-6500

Operation TBI Freedom

Ph: (866) 245-6600

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Veterans Affairs Ph: (719) 592-1300

Visit and for complete listings and information. The LiNK 6.4 - TBI Edition



9900 East Iliff Avenue Denver, CO 80231 (303) 636-5600

HONOR OUR WOUNDED HEROES w w w . O p e r a t i o n T B I F r e e d 1-877-FUND-OTF Your generous support can help the servicemen and servicewomen of your community fight the debilitating effects of TBI.

Get Connected!

WE’RE ON FACEBOOK! Denver Options and Operation TBI Freedom are on Facebook. Become a fan today! and

SIGN UP FOR OUR E-NEWSLETTER! NEW! Email to start receiving news and updates.

Questions about The LiNK? Email

CONTRIBUTORS Katie Goulet Barb Lundy Dr. James Schraa Layout by Rebecca Spencer

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Bill Parkhill, President Roger Carstens, Vice President Jim Long, Treasurer Niki F. Tuttle, Secretary Ann Erickson Gifford Barry Martin, M.D. Roger Schmitz Scott Showalter, M.D. Gail Strobel Stephanie Townsend Christine Wester Stephen R. Block, Ph.D., CEO

CUSTOMER SERVICE Ph: (303) 636-5624 TDD: (303) 636-5602

The Denver Options’ LiNK is published quarterly by Denver Options, a non-profit organization that provides service coordination and program services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.

A Privately Funded Statewide Program of Denver Options

The LiNK 6.4 Special Veterans Edition  

Special Veterans Edition of the Denver Options LiNK newsletter. Honor Our Wounded Heroes.

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