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New La Crosse program assists veterans with recovery

Kaitlyn Riley



Monday, the nation says thank you to all veterans. A new program being launched in La Crosse will make it a year-round goal to “never leave any veteran behind.”

Tactical Recovery started after the La Crosse Area Veterans Mentorship Program received a grant and approached the Coulee Recovery Center.

Tactical Recovery will offer support, camaraderie, and recreational activities for all veterans, according to Veterans Program Coordinator JT Savor, the veterans program coordinator with the Coulee Recovery Center.

“We want to create an atmosphere where you can be with other veterans and have that sense of belonging and be with a group of people who understand where you are coming from,” Savor said. “They have been where you have been. They have served in the same ranks. They understand that lifestyle perfectly and can walk with you through this journey. That’s very powerful.”

Savor served in the army from 2003-2010 and was stationed in areas such as Iraq and Korea. He felt brotherhood and sisterhood in the service and felt a loss upon returning home.

“You were part of something bigger than yourself, and that creates a massive void in your life,” Savor said. “That void then translates into some of these mental health disorders, depression, anxiety and things like that. Then, we end up needing to fill that void with something else. That is often how substance abuse disorders end up happening and occurring.”

Savor experienced PTSD, depression, anxiety and a substance use disorder as well. He started his new line of work in 2017 when a separate grant program introduced him to the Coulee Council on Addictions. From there, his work spiraled into acting as a recovery coach for the recovery center. Now, he looks forward to increasing opportunities to assist veterans.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Savor said. “It is not only a privilege to do this line of work, but it is also a massive benefit for myself and my recovery. It keeps me vigilant each and every day of where I have come from and what I’ve achieved. Doing this type of service work really pays off. It helps lift my spirits.”

Part of the purpose of Tactical Recovery is to give veterans ownership over the program.

“It is veterans empowering veterans, and we want to give them what they say their needs are within the frame of what we are doing here at the Coulee Recovery Center,” Savor said.

Individualized sessions, trainings, and techniques will be offered to help individuals in their recovery journey. Then, those skills can be used within the group to help everyone grow and strengthen.

“Make it less formal,” Savor said. “Make it less clinical. Just make it about brotherhood and sisterhood and strengthening recovery.”

Savor added some of the programs will simply be about having fun with recreational activities scheduled bi-weekly. Those events will be posted on the Tactical Recovery Facebook Page and website.

Events are free to the veterans within the Tactical Recovery group.

There will be a launch event held at the Coulee Recovery Center at 11 a.m. Wednesday and veterans are welcome to come to show their support and learn more about Tactical Recovery.

This program is open to all veterans regardless of their discharge status, honorable, other than honorable, general or even dishonorable. They are also welcome from all eras whether they have seen combat or not.

Other upcoming events honoring veterans next week as part of Veterans Day include the following:

Freedom Honor Flight’s Veteran Breakfast 8-10:00 a.m. (1725 State Street, La Crosse)

Houston Elementary School Veterans Day Program 9:30-10:30 a.m. (310 S. Sherman St, Houston, Minn.)

American Legion Veterans Day Program 10-11:00 a.m. (711 6th St. S, La Crosse)

Maplewood Elementary School Veterans Day Program 2-2:30 p.m. (900 E. Montgomery St, Sparta)

Bringing the High Ground Veteran Memorial Park to La Crosse 5:30 p.m. (319 7th St. N, La Crosse)

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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