Why not us?
Matthew White
AFA Journal staff writer

May 2019 – “Why doesn’t someone do something about this?”

U.S. Marine Chad Robichaux struggled with that question as he considered the challenges combat veterans and military families face. Having completed multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan, he was no stranger to those challenges.

After returning home from his eighth and final deployment, Chad began experiencing symptoms he wasn’t sure how to cope with – desperation, anxiety, arm and face numbness, the feeling that his throat was swelling shut, and panic attacks. Initially he kept these feelings to himself for fear that he would be perceived as weak.

Ironically, he found himself becoming a weak and broken man, not knowing what to do. He was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and removed from his 
task force.

The dark side
At home, seemingly without purpose, his life began to spiral out of control as he pursued the things of the world to fill the voids – a professional mixed martial arts career, infidelity, and more. Kathy, his wife, held on as long as she could but eventually gave Chad an ultimatum – choose her and their three children or continue down his destructive path.

He chose the latter, and it only led him to an even darker place. He had tried to blame his problems on others, but now alone, he realized the true problem was the internal war that he hadn’t dealt with. Thinking the solution was to remove himself permanently so he could cause no further harm, he became suicidal, trying to talk himself into taking his own life.

While Chad was in the pit of despair, Kathy, in spite of their separation, continued to pray for Chad, and even forgave him. With divorce papers signed and ready, one final question from Kathy changed everything.

“How is it that everything you do, you accomplish, you achieve, you rise above and beyond,” she asked, “but when it comes to our family, you quit?”

The bright side
Stunned, Chad reevaluated everything.

Subsequently, their story of God’s transformational power is nothing short of amazing. Chad found what he’d been searching for – Jesus, and when he did, he said “the PTSD that was controlling my life, became a set of memories I had control over.”

After a mentorship process to help them overcome their struggles, their church commissioned them and sent them out to begin the Mighty Oaks ministry to America’s military warriors and families.

The Mighty Oaks Foundation is a faith-based veteran service organization whose stated mission is, “to serve and restore our nation’s warriors and families, who have endured hardship through their service to America, and to help them find a new life purpose through hope in Christ.”

Re-entry into civilian life is difficult and sometimes devastating for combat veterans, often leaving their families to deal with the aftermath of broken homes and even suicide. Mighty Oaks cuts to the heart of the issue through a variety of programs that teach combat veterans victimized by PTSD how to get beyond combat trauma and live their lives in the manner God intended.

Their flagship programs are the Legacy Program For Men and The Legacy Program For Women. The men’s six-day intensive peer-to-peer program seeks to help them discover the answers to the big questions in life, bring to the surface deeply buried struggles, and teach men how to fight through these challenges.

The women’s five-day retreat, for both spouses and military women, hopes to give women a biblical blueprint of womanhood and help each one become the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31.

Mighty Oaks believes that by helping these heros align their lives to biblical principles, they will be better equipped to lead their families, their communities, and the nation.   

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs there are 20 veteran suicides in America every day. Learn more at mightyoaksprograms.org or email info@mightyoaksprograms.org.