One US Army Veteran and His Cross-Country Bike Trek to Raise PTSD Awareness
On today's show, we speak with Thomas Skinner, a US Army veteran who's been battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) for more than two decades. Over the years, ever since he was honourably discharged from Fort Eustis in Virginia, Skinner has worked as a truck driver, a wildlife photographer, and at a few other jobs. Today, he devotes his time and energy to raising PTSD awareness; in fact, he is currently riding his bicycle --- along with Scrubs, his trusty service dog --- from California to Vermont to draw as much attention as possible to PTSD and various other issues affecting military veterans. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that troubles or debilitates the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans; it's been estimated that 18 military veterans commit suicide each day in this country because of it. Since Skinner's bike route includes a long stretch along the famous Route 66 highway, he is currently in Tulsa (doing events, appearing at speaking engagements, and the like) through Sunday the 29th. He recently stopped by our studios to talk about his experiences as a PTSD victim, his decision to devote himself to speaking out against this affliction, his extremely rewarding and therapeutic relationship with Scrubs, and his coast-to-coast journey in general. (You can learn all about Skinner's travels, and about PTSD itself, at understandingptsd.org.) Also on today's ST, our commentator Connie Cronley has a wonderfully reflective and far-reaching personal essay that originated, simply enough, with a lilting little jazz tune that she happened to hear one recent morning on the radio: "Up Jumped Spring."