A Combat Medic Suffering from the Traumas of War and Rape Turns to the Homeless Veterans Project for Support

Lana Vail* a homeless, disabled veteran, served honorably in the U.S. Army from 2006 – 2010. As a Combat Medic, she provided emergency medical care to injured soldiers and civilians. This exposure to the devastation and human casualty of war took an emotional toll on Lana, causing her to live in a state of constant fear and anxiety. Regardless, she continued to serve and save lives, earning, among other awards, the Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Combat Medical Badge.

In addition to the severe trauma she experienced on the front lines, Lana was sexually harassed and raped by a fellow soldier. Her psychological distress became so intense that Lana contemplated suicide.

“I thought about committing suicide every day after this happened. Just turning my own weapon on myself, I know I wanted to die, but there had been three suicides and I saw the impact it had on the other soldiers and I didn’t want to do that to them.”

Although she sought and received mental health treatment during service, her struggles continued, and even worsened, after separation from the Army. To cope with flashbacks, nightmares, agoraphobia, depression and anxiety – all signs or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Lana began to self-medicate. Eventually, she became homeless and even lost custody of her three children.

Lana came to ICLC in 2014 for help after being denied VA benefits for what was clearly a service-related disability. Melissa Tyner, Director of ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project, worked tirelessly to get Lana the benefits she so desperately needed and deserved.

Melissa filed with the VA and proved that Lana’s PTSD was directly related to her experiences in the military. It wasn’t long before Lana received over $100,000 in retroactive benefits and $3,000 a month in disability benefits.

Lana now lives in a condo with her kids and can finally enjoy her life. “It is because of you and what you did for me and my children, that I can provide a better life for them and for me,” Lana told Melissa. “Thank you. Thank you so very much.”

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the client.