MONROE, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) has partnered with the Rodney J. Hobbs Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1809 (VFW Post 1809) and BoneKrusher Boxing Gym to begin a Boxing Wellness Initiative for Veterans in Northeast Louisiana.
This partnership is one facet of NEDHSA’s Operation Leave No Veteran Behind Initiative to increase its service efforts toward the veteran population and meet the needs that stem from combat, training, and traumatic and stress-generating settings. Operation Leave No Veteran Behind is an effort to ensure that military veterans in Northeast Louisiana have quality and competent primary and behavioral health care.
NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said the agency has “always worked to create opportunities for citizens of Northeast Louisiana to engage in healthy activities and learn about the interconnectedness of their mental health and physical health.”
“We know fitness plays a vital role in overall mental health, and is also a strong predictor of positive primary care health outcomes,” Dr. Sizer said. “This boxing wellness program is a nontraditional option we are using to help mitigate the behavioral health and primary health care needs of our military men and women living in our region.”
VFW Post 1809 Commander Christopher LeGuin said the partnership with the NEDHSA helps the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1809 by giving Veterans a local resource for mental and physical health.
“NEDHSA’s Operation Leave No Veteran Behind initiative enables Veterans to receive the care they seek for mental health, addictive disorder, and primary care at a nearby location, and provides related social supports such as housing, employment, and food,” LeGuin said. “Having this resource available close by makes veterans feel like they can readily reach out to receive help and refuge from combat stresses and traumas, as well as receive coping mechanisms for everyday life.”
The 6-week boxing wellness program features two one-hour sessions each week for veterans with a curriculum consisting of treadmill exercises, boxing technique on the heavy bag, and an opportunity to spar in the ring while talking about life.
BoneKrusher Boxing Gym, located at 3307 Renwick St. Suite B. in Monroe, Owner Sammy Crawford said, “he’s excited to be able to give veterans a free space to converse and share life experiences while also teaching them the benefit and discipline of boxing.”
“This relationship has blossomed way past a boxing workout,” Crawford said. “I’ve gone on to have conversations with the veterans outside the gym to assist them in life challenges. BoneKrusher Boxing Program is more than a workout; it’s a movement.”
Dr. Sizer added: “Boxing programs can be a valuable tool in helping veterans improve their mental and primary health outcomes. These programs can also provide a physical outlet for helping veterans to reduce stress and anxiety, and help them develop more discipline, self-control, and confidence. By funding boxing programs and partnering with regional organizations connected with our integrated healthcare network, we can ensure that veterans have access to the support they need to help manage their mental and primary health challenges and successfully reintegrate into all levels of civilian life.”
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