Community Service Champion: February

The community service champion for the month of February goes to a war veteran who's using his experience in combat to help men and women, along with their families, in dealing with the after affects of war.

James McGinn is a former pilot for the U.S. Air Force. He flew a total of 147 missions over Iraq and Yugoslavia. He returned safely from his missions, but one of his close friends did not.

McGinn says it was something he wasn't ready for.  "We're ready for the normal thing such as getting shot at or dropping bombs or normal war stuff but, it was somebody who was a great guy, a family man, and because that happened there's the guilt of why did he make it but I didn't?"

He knew he needed help in dealing with this loss.

"I was able to realize there was nothing to be guilty of, My friend served his country and was killed in combat. I wasn't the cause of that the fact that I and my wingman came home that night wasn't a factor in his death. I was able to take what i had as a thinking error and someone else able to process that with me and I was able to think much more clearly and it helped me move on with my life," McGinn said.

It was the counseling he received that got him on track to becoming a counselor himself so that he could
help people that like himself.  

"I served my country and I feel good about helping redirect other peoples lives and help them get on track themselves."

The center counsels 20 to 30 veterans a year. Most of them have been in combat themselves.

"Veterans can have anything from combat related, PTSD, the reintegration from combat life to regular civilian
life is tough. We see relationship problems and the same problems the general public would have."

He says it's vital to seek outside help for soldiers and veterans that may be suppressing feelings.

"There's a variety of issues. There's many where combat has exacerbated things things they saw there they were
never able to fully process and we're able to talk here in a safe environment a veteran to a veteran."

The record breaking movie, "American Sniper" is about Navy Seal sniper, Chris Kyle. The movie shows how Kyle
dealt with life after serving the country. One of ways was by helping mentor other war veterans.

McGinn says that's accurate and important in helping veterans who have served move on with their lives. "You become a purpose in life. You become a hope for others and in that hope you help yourself."

McGinn says in combat he never left any of friends or comrades and he won't leave them now either..

The center offers free or low cost counseling to anybody that's in need, not just veterans. It's open from 4 to 9pm
Monday through Thursday. Mcginn says you need to make an appointment by phone or visit their web site. The phone number is
940-228-0598 and web site is