In a specific discussion Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy welcomed Executive Director of Reboot Recovery Evan Owens to the show to discuss his company mission on this special day remembering 9-11 first responders and their families.
During the show, Evans disclosed that what became a part-time venture soon morphed into a full-time service where he and his wife felt a call to help those suffering from not only bodily distress but emotional pain as well. He and his wife began the service in their home which quickly spread throughout the community.
Leahy: We’re joined now by Evan Owens the Executive Director of Reboot Recovery. That’s a non-profit that helps veterans, first responders and their loved ones to heal from the moral and spiritual wounds associated with service-related trauma. Evan welcome to the Tennessee Star Report.
Owens: Hey good morning. Thanks for having me.
Leahy: So you are located up in Pleasant View in Cheatam County is that right?
Owen: Our offices are closer to Clarksville. It’s kind of halfway between Nashville and Fort Campbell.
Leahy: Tell us now Evan, what does Reboot Recovery do?
Owens: So, when we look at our society today. The military and the first responder cultures are struggling. We look at data around suicide and to be honest with you before I got into this space I didn’t know how big of a problem it really was. What Reboot realizes that were are some gaps. So what we did was create a peer lead model.
People who had been or connected to a first responder or military culture are able to lead these trauma healing courses. Whether it’s at their church or local community of VFW club. Whatever they’re part of. Whatever influence they have in their sphere rather than simply saying, “Hey, have you gone to an expert to go seek help.” They would be also to join side by side and be a healing force themselves. So that’s what we do. We help people stand up these local trauma healing courses in their community and whatever that looks like for them.
Leahy: So Evan, what is your background and how did you get involved in starting Reboot Recovery?
Owens: So my wife was working for the Department of Defense. She’s a doctor of occupational therapy with a specialty in traumatic brain injury and she was seeing patients. And so many of her patients were struggling with suicide and struggling with things like misplaced identity. “Now that I’m to going to be wearing a uniform anymore who am I?”
Or issues of guilt. “I should have done this. If I only would have done this, maybe this other thing would or wouldn’t have happened.” And these are issues that really speak to matters of the heart as much as they are the mind. So we began really exploring this idea if your body could be wounded and your mind can be wounded wouldn’t it stand to reason that perhaps maybe our souls and our spirits could be wounded as well.
And what would it look like to treat, heal, and what symptoms would be present or eliminated if a soul was able to be wounded and healed. And so that began a journey for us of inviting families into our home. We’d cook some spaghetti and have a little babysitter upstairs and invite these families and that really took off.
And so from there, we began to see this outpouring and huge response.
We went from our living room with two or three couples to Fort Campbell to having 50, 60 people show up every week to our weekly meeting. To spreading to six, seven, eight and nine and then it just kind of took off from there.
I like to say I was just sort of adopted into the culture because my dad’s a Vietnam veteran. But I was actually in the technology stage. I was part of the technology stage. I was CEO of a technology company that was growing in Nashville but just really felt lead to leave that and pour into this full time because I saw the problem on the face and that we have to do something about this now.
Leahy: We’re having this conversation on September 11, 2019. 18 years ago on September 11th, 2001. And I think Evan, you and everyone in our listening audience can remember exactly where they were when they first heard the news of these attacks by Islamist terrorists on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And then of course flight 93 that went down in a field in Pennsylvania when some American heroes on board took action and stopped it.
But 3000 Americans were killed that day and subsequent to that 18 years ago a lot of first responders died at the World Trade Center. And many of them have suffered from health and emotional, psychological issues subsequent to that. What does 9-11 the anniversary of 9-11 to your service recipients and to veterans mean?
Owens: I mean I think 9-11 as you allude to really ushered in a new era. If you think about how different the world was. This era has really been one, looking back almost 20 years has really been marked by fear, war, and a lot of unrest. And we still see those ramifications. It seems like every time we put on the news there’s some sort of new barrage and issue of trauma. Whether it’s a violent issue.
We’re kind of surrounded by this and it can be challenging to find the silver lining in a lot of these stories. What I get the opportunity to do is see that silver lining almost every day. This brave and selfless redeeming force at work within these stories where these people are bringing hope and light to even the darkest and most hopeless situation.
And when you get to see that upfront, we’re able to stand in a day when it’s not as popular to stand up for our military, law enforcement, and our firefighter community. We’re able to stand up loud and proud. And 9-11 gives us a great chance to remind people that there are some brave heroes in their community who make their city a great place to live, work, and play every day and let’s not forget them or take them for granted.
Leahy: Do you have an event going on in Clarksville today?
Owens: We do. We actually do one in May in Nashville and we do one on 9-11 in Clarksville called ‘Honor Week’ which honors our military and first responders in a way that really helps people take a moment and pause. On our worst day, we need them to be their best.
Imagine if your job was to be on your best for someone’s worst day. We take a minute to talk about that and reflect on that. We also talk about where we are as a nation. And to take a moment that despite what goes in the media and culture we stand with you. We support you. And that means a lot.
Listen to the full hour:
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Reboot Recovery” by Reboot Recovery.