1st Infantry Division launches stigma reduction campaign
December 3, 2012
Lt. William Milzarski knows how it feels to bring the war home.
"The nightmares started in late May after my battalion's first major engagement in Afghanistan," the infantry officer said recently. "By September, we had conducted more than 100 combat missions and the nightmares were coming every night."
Although Milzarski's time in the war zone eventually ended, the nightmares never did.
"I knew something was wrong and I sought help," the 1st Infantry Division Soldier said. "I see a counselor every week, I take it day-by-day, I accept the help that is available and I do what I need to do to get better."
Milzarski's story of struggle and recovery is detailed in the first collection of posters released Dec. 3 as part of the 1st Infantry Division's new "I know how it feels" campaign. The campaign is designed to show Soldiers, Family members and civilians throughout the Big Red One formation that they are not alone in their struggles, others who stand to their left and right have been in their shoes and know how they feel.
"Our goal is to eliminate the feelings of isolation that many people often feel when they are struggling," Judy Woodward, 1st Infantry Division Community Health Promotion Officer, said. "The stories we will share during this campaign are the stories of our very own teammates who have faced periods of adversity in their lives and found their way to a better day."
Woodward said each poster that will be released as part of the "I know how it feels" effort will not only include important stories of survival but also list a variety of local and national resources designed to provide help to every member of the Army family.
"The most important thing we want everyone to understand is that they are never alone," she said. "We stand as one in the Big Red One."
Milzarski hopes that sharing his story as part of the new campaign will encourage other Big Red One Soldiers to seek the help they need.
"Follow Me, the motto of the infantry, isn't just for combat," he said. "Follow Me is for recovery too."