A Contractor & Her Dog

My name is Mary Southerland, a former US Contractor for the Department of Defense and Department of State in Iraq.


The message is so important and the response so positive, I will be headed down the Ohio River to expand the 'Adventure'! So, Tom & Scrubs will be on the original route, and Henry & I will start in Pittsburgh, PA!

Also, there is the possibility of a signature petition with Purple Star Families (purplestarfamlies.org) as well... giving you an opportunity to support beyond financial contributions!

I have been invited by "PTSD Awareness Adventure 2013" to help break the stigma of being diagnosed with PTSD in returning veterans, civilians and contractors by kayaking with Veteran Tom Skinner and 2 service dogs from Minnesota to The Gulf of Mexico.

Last year Tom Skinner (Army Veteran) and his service dog Scrubs biked 4,012 miles from San Diego to The National Center for PTSD in Vermont giving his presentation "What Comes After Welcome Home" being featured in news articles, local television stations, and as the main feature on National Public Radio (his personal blog: understandingptsd.org). This year I am supporting by sharing my experiences as a civilian contractor and the challenge of being diagnosed with PTSD this past January.

The presentation's goal is to promote discussion in communities on how to advocate and empower thousands of veterans, civilians, and contractors with subtle to severe cases of PTSD by presenting in churches, community centers, VA Hospitals and VFW's.
Forming safe support groups for individuals seeking help, coping with symptoms, and sticking with therapy is key for personal, family and community healing.

How can you help?

An adventure of this magnitude requires an load of support! I have a fundraising goal of $3000 for my personal expenses, travel, occasional motel rooms and necessities for my service dog-in-training, Henry.

If I can find 75 people (the total days of the trip) to donate $40, I'll be good to go! Of course, any amount would great... even $5 helps buy sunscreen!

I am not well, but I'm on a path to healing. I am learning to use my symptoms to make me stronger. My personal goal is to meet with one Senator and one Congressmen to encourage them to develop a program for contractors sent home for psychiatric reasons. We should not have to loose our credit, homes, saving, relationships and careers waiting for benefits.

Your support is greatly appreciated by all of us - myself, Tom Skinner & Scrubs, and the thousands of veterans, civilians, contractors and families that will be touched by our mission.


Mary Southerland


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Mary Victoria Southerland 
Salt Lake City, UT
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