Herschel Walker speaks out on seeking help
February 25, 2011
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and famous professional football player for nationally known teams such as the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and the Philadelphia Eagles, visited Soldiers and their families at Bassett Army Community Hospital, here, Thursday morning.
Meeting with Soldiers and families of the Warrior Transition Unit, Battalion B, Walker spoke about his life, his personal experiences and struggles with mental illness and how he gained control over it.
Stacie York, vice president of The Freedom Care Program, accompanied Walker as they tour military installations throughout the United States.
"Our motto is "if the military goes there, we'll go there," York said. She explained that coming to Alaska in the winter months was made on purpose because at this time of the year Walker's message might be most needed with the seasonal effects of prolonged darkness on military members and families.
"This is the 28th military installation we've visited so far, and Herschel has spoken to more than 7,000 troops" York said. "Our company provides treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and women's issues, including military sexual trauma and other psychiatric disorders for servicemembers. We specialize in that."
The program admits about 80 servicemembers per month into the Freedom Care Program at four locations throughout the country, York said. She said they treat about 30 servicemembers from Alaska every year.
Walker became a spokesman for the Freedom Care Program in 2008 after the company found out about his trauma-related disorder and he wanted to do some speaking about his experience.
They educate and focus on letting the troops know that if they have a problem, as Walker said, "There is no shame in asking for help, I did."
He tells his story in hopes that through his experiences with mental illness and how he found help by seeking it out, will promote military members to do the same.