Wounded Army Vet Dave Campbell Addresses JWV on Subject of PTSD

George Stahl

The Sunday, April 19, meeting of the Jewish War Veterans Post 619 begins at 9:30 a.m. Speaker for the morning, Army veteran David Campbell, was only 17 years old when he joined the Army in August of 1990. Just one day after he signed up, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and 13 weeks later, Campbell was deployed to Kuwait to what has become known as the “100 Hours War.”

Campbell was severely wounded in an explosion and was declared dead for five long minutes. After spending time recovering in MASH units, he returned to Kuwait in the Army’s rear detachment.

When Campbell was discharged in 1992, he was diagnosed with severe PTSD. According to Campbell, “I managed to build a career in photography, but every few years I would lose it, quit my job, start drinking, and become self-destructive.” On his 40th birthday, Campbell made a commitment to himself that he was not going to be a victim of his own life. He was experiencing bouts of deep depression and anxiety, and he had fallen into a self-destructive lifestyle. He had even contemplated suicide.

All of that changed when two very impactful events happened to Campbell. In 2013, he had a chance meeting with the “Heal the Hero” foundation, and later he came into contact with another organization, “Soldier’s Best Friend” (SBF). Campbell said that the mission of SBF, the leadership, and the people who work there day in and day out help make a difference for veterans in need of assistance.

It was at SBF that Campbell met Caleb who had been homeless and starving on the streets until SBF found him and took him in. When Campbell met Caleb, it was an instant match. Caleb is an Australian Shepherd mix, and together they completed a training program at SBF, graduating in 2015. The two are inseparable. Campbell takes Caleb with him to different venues to speak to vets about his experiences and the effects of war on the average service person.

Together, the duo assists the Mesa Police Department’s crisis team. When a 9-1-1 call comes in regarding a vet, the 9-1-1 operator makes sure that Campbell gets the call. He and Caleb accompany an officer on the call. JWV encourages you to take some time on Sunday morning, April 19, to come down and meet Campbell and his partner in healing, Caleb. It could be just what the doctor ordered.

JWV membership is open to everyone in the community. Members and patrons represent a wide range of religious affiliations. Support is provided to Arizona veterans of all religions and beliefs. Post 619 meets the third Sunday of every month in the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room at 9:30 a.m. Meetings feature speakers focused on supporting veterans. A complimentary continental breakfast is also served. For additional information about JWV activities or membership, please contact Commander Ron Buckner at [email protected]