Many new vets are transitioning from survival in a war zone to starting a new life here after the military.
Ever since Heather Romiti got out of the army she has been on a mission to as she puts it "heal and protect". She's doing it through her health and nutrition business on the internet. But when she was in the army her mission was to drive trucks in Iraq and that meant IED's, improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs.
"There were three different incidents where IED's hit my vehicle and that's why I'm positive and love life because I'm grateful to have my limbs and I'm alive my vision is here, my hearing…well that's not so great but," said Romiti.
To talk to her you'd never know it but those explosions left her with some spinal stinosis, crushed nerves, bone enlargement.
"It hit the front of the vehicle and shrapnel went all thru the
vehicle and all three of us were safe. It was a miracle "Oh my God" and I
just kept driving, that's what you do is keep going, don't stop that's
the kill zone," said
And it's not just physical scarring there are the memories of it all memories that won't go away.
"The nightmares were getting to be too much. I hate to talk about it. It's hard to ask for help. It really is. Your ego and pride get in the way," said Romiti.
Like most vets the Department of Veterans Affairs has been a godsend of support.
Romiti's schooling was paid for. The VA covers her medical, pays for her physical therapy and handles her counseling.
"There's a new exercise out where you take a re-occurring dream, there's one I have and while you are awake you try to change the outcome so it's not bad. So say someone's shooting, instead they're coming and throwing candy at everybody," said Romiti.
Romiti is not just trying to change outcomes but to control them and
she is doing that by moving forward with her work, with her website
recipe book and videos. She wants to keep creating and all the time
close by is her life in the army, an experience she says helps her
appreciate her life now so much more.