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Medal of Honor Recipient Leroy Petry Discusses Mental Health Treatment for Military

Petry and Army MEDEVAC Team

Retired Master Sergeant Leroy Petry, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011, visited Fairbanks, Alaska on July 25th and 26th. Petry, the official ambassador and quality control advocate for the Extra Mile Military Care program at Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital (Marysville, WA), toured both Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base during his stay. While visiting, Petry advocated mental health services that are available to both active military personnel and retired veterans.



While visiting Eielson Air Force Base, Petry spoke twice to an audience of over 250 Airmen and civilian employees. He met with the base commander and with Air Force clinicians afterward.


While on a mission in rural Afghanistan in May 2008, Petry saved the lives of two fellow Army Rangers when he grabbed a grenade thrown near them. While attempting to throw the grenade away, it detonated in his right hand.


While he may have lost his hand, Petry never gave up fighting. After spending several weeks recovering from his wounds, Petry was fitted with a prosthetic right hand, and re-enlisted in the Army. Petry was deployed again to Afghanistan, where he served until he received the Medal of Honor on July 12th, 2011.


Now retired, Petry hopes to help veterans who are experiencing depression or are seeking PTSD treatment after finishing their service.


“The world is filled with opportunity.” Petry says, “When you wake up, and you breathe that air into your lungs, and you open your eyes, you have the opportunity to change the world.”


Petry also spoke about mental health awareness and how important it is to take care of our veterans. This means taking care of the veteran’s physical wounds and emotional wounds too.


An average of 33 American active duty service members or veterans commit suicide daily. It is vital that mental health services are available to those who need to use them.


“For a lot of people they have no hope, (they think) no one is going to help them out,” he said. “Plus the stigma of, ‘Oh, if I go get mental health I’ll never be able to own a gun, or I’ll never be able to continue my job, they’ll kick me out, or I’ll never get promoted.’


“A lot of what I talk to them about is that to be a well-rounded soldier you’ve got to be mentally, physically and spiritually green. When you started going into the yellow or the red you’re not going to be at your peak performance.”


Be sure to watch the video linked below for additional information!