Local Veteran Finds Support, Comfort Through Peer Support Project


Credit: AD Simko/WNYNewsNow

JAMESTOWN – A local veteran, who is slowly overcoming his struggles with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), said that ninety-five percent of the veterans that he knows in this community are addicted to drugs. 

Wally Westrerdahl made the comments last week when he appeared on News Now to promote the positive impact that the PF Dwyer Foundation has had on him.

“I have people I can reach out to now, that have been in the shoes I wore, they’ve worn boots with me,” said Westredahl. “I know I have people that I can reach out to that aren’t just going to say, ‘It’ll be OK’, they can actually say, ‘I understand, I’ve been there’, and they have.”



Westrerdahl said the peer-to-peer support that he has received from the foundation has changed his life.

“If we didn’t exist, there would be a huge lacking of support for local veterans,” said Westrerdahl.

The foundation was named after an Iraq war Untitledhero from Mount Sinai, NY,  the Joseph P. Dwyer and serves as a peer-to-peer support program for veterans battling problems related to PTSD.



Launched in 2012 as a pilot partnership between the Suffolk County United Veterans program and the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency, the Dwyer Project takes a confidential, one-on-one, peer-to-peer approach that has rapidly captured the attention and support of both veterans and mental health professionals statewide and across the nation.

Westerdahl said that veterans suffering from PTSD feel a “wide array” of feelings.

“The symptoms are scary,” said Westerdahl.

For more information on the foundation. please visit their website.

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