APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) - Representative Reid Ribble, (R) 8th Congressional District, hosted an event today focused on veterans.
He brought together experts to talk about treating post traumatic stress disorder.
The experts have great pamphlets, websites and videos showing how they help veterans with mental health problems.
At Tuesday's event the room full of experts heard from another expert, a combat veteran, who says the human touch is being lost.
"I do not have a title. I am just Matt" says Matt Tennessen.
The Purple Heart recipient spent about a year on the front lines in Afghanistan.
"Our mission in Afghanistan was to find IEDs" he explains.
His platoon hit more than two dozen of the explosive devices.
Tennessen is still finishing surgeries to repair his damaged body. He was medically retired in 2011.
"They said I was too broken to continue" says Tennessen.
But he is not too broken to help his fellow veterans.
In fact, he says his struggles make him a better peer to peer counselor.
"I can give them my timeline. At first everything was fine, then before you know it I am going grocery shopping at midnight. Not leaving the house, then of course try self medicating. You know alcohol. But I can tell them I know exactly where that road leads and it leads to the police department" says Tennessen.
Taking notes representative Ribble plans to use Tennessen's ideas when crafting new legislation and programs.
"Get it back to our veteran affairs committee and let them know what we're hearing on the ground in North East Wisconsin" says Ribble.
Three years after returning home to Kaukauna Tennessen is still on his journey. He is healing along with the veterans he helps.
"I feel guilty for helping because of what I get out of it. I feel like I get more than they ever do" says Tennessen.
His efforts are entirely volunteer.
Tennessen hopes by speaking at events like this VA centers see the importance of integrating peer to peer counseling.
If you know of a veteran who needs help contact Tennessen at firstname.lastname@example.org.