February 8, 2018 Knoxville Tennessee
Dr. Donald Richardson was the inspiration to the first PTSD workshop group in April 2011. Doc brought together 23 unwilling Vietnam Veterans on Monday April 11, 2011 at the VA Knoxville Outpatient Clinic. His workshop brought healing to the 23 but it wasn’t easy. 22 were Vietnam veterans and one, David Smith, was an Iraqi vet. No one wanted to be there.Click here to Read More
Freddie Owens and Ed Junod were identified as co-leaders of the group when the VA Mental Health Leadership team decided to cancel Dr. Richardson’s workgroup. Doc was opposed to the leadership’s decision and fought alongside with us to keep the workgroup going. Because of his faith, leadership, encouragement, support and prayers the workgroup continued and is still growing; three groups were formed: Legacy Peer Support Group (LPG), Vet to Vet Tennessee (VTVT)and the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council (Council).
Vietnam Army veteran and resident of Blount County, George Thomas was one of the original 23 and was the first to die in the group. George’s faith and strength helped us through the battle with the VA over the cancellation of the group. George passed away before we achieved victory, but his memory has never faded. As a matter of fact, we start all our meeting in memory of our brother George.
Three of the original members, Bob Hatley, Freddie Owens and Ed Junod are currently on the leadership team of all three veteran affiliates.
Our victory meant that Dr. Richardson could continue his PTSD workgroup and upon completion gave them the option to join our Legacy Peer Support Group. Two years after the inception of LPG, VTVT and the Council we met Joseph “JL” Tucker. JL joined LPG and brought new vision, strength and love to the group. Before long, he accepted the position of VTVT Vice President. JL helped everyone up until before he passed.
Dr. Richardson made a significant difference in George & JL’s lives and helped all of us from the depths of darkness to into life. Dr. Richardson was bestowed both the George A. Thomas Memorial Award and the Joseph “JL” Tucker Memorial Award on February 8, 2018 by Mountain Home VA Health Care System Director Dean Borsis on behalf of the Council and VTVT.
Doc is the only one who has received both awards. This was special because he is special. We thank God for Dr. Donald R. Richardson.