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Dare to Dream Ranch offers help for veterans

Fri, Apr 19th 2024 03:30 pm

Guest Editorial and Photo by Island Ship Center

Recently, Island Ship Center (ISC) had the humbling honor to create a banner for our dear friend, guest, and client, Tonya Hollederer, to honor her daughter, actively-serving U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Hollederer, and her late son, Cory Zaranek, who passed away as a result of traumatic mental health issues after serving our country as an 11-year veteran corpsman in the U.S. Navy.

Cory completed a tour in Afghanistan and two tours in Iraq, saving many lives in and out of combat, though was continuously haunted by overwhelming guilt and horrific memories.

Tonya shared, “To the day he died, he beat himself up about not being able to save a little girl and his good friend,” both taken by IEDs. “He internalized everything and suffered in silence. When Cory got out of the Navy, he continued to struggle. Away from the structure of military life, he began drinking even more. His PTSD was so severe, he couldn’t even get his license. He was paralyzed with fear and could not find his way in life.”

Cory’s battle with his trauma landed him in the ICU, not able to speak or identify Tonya as his mother. She stayed with him for months through intubation, coding, and then eventually a transfer to a rehab floor to learn how to walk again, followed by six weeks in intensive alcohol rehab. He was finally discharged, excited to start a fresh new life, but just five weeks later Cory passed away as a result of a seizure.

Tonya’s mission now is to help other veterans break the cycle of loss and help them to overcome PTSD. She is heavily involved with Dare to Dream Ranch. Please go online to www.401gives.org/organizations/dare-to-dream-ranch-inc to learn how you can help with this important mission to be there for the heroes who have served our country so selflessly … and to whom we owe the greatest debt of gratitude.

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