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Virtual reality helping some veterans cope with emotions from war

CBS Texas

Nicole Nielsen


For veterans, Memorial Day is all about remembrance. But reliving memories of war isn't easy and some veterans struggle with processing emotions and PTSD. 

DFW-based company MyndVR is hoping to change that and make healing just a little bit easier with the help of virtual reality. 

They use headsets and scenes from planes, jets, and ships to help remind veterans of the joy they used to feel in the skies, or at sea. 

"It's a technology that allows us to take seniors and older adults and veterans out of the four walls of their senior living community, and into new worlds," said MyndVR CEO Chris Brickler.

This week, the veterans at the Watkins Logan Texas State Veterans Home in Tyler were able to experience the technology in the hopes of healing from some of their wartime traumas. 

Veteran Willie Dubois had the chance to virtually relive his days on the USS Eisenhower, a ship he previously served on. His eyes welled up when he took off the VR headset.

"I was on the flight deck," Dubois said in between tears. "I loved it."

Don Wilcher, an aviation Vietnam-era veteran took a plane ride that dug up some difficult emotions. After removing the glasses, he took a few deep breaths and released tears. 

"When we came back to the States, they spit in our faces. I will always remember that... because a Vietnam vet has never been welcomed home. That hurts," Wilcher said. "But if I had to do it again, I would do it. I love my country. I love it."

MyndVR says one of its advantages is that veterans can choose their experience in VR.  Whether it's reliving their days in the service, catching butterflies or playing with animals, it all points toward the goal of providing comfort and peace.

The gear is not permanently installed in the center, and thanks to the help of a $250,000 donation from the charity BVL (Bowlers to Veterans Link), the National Association of State Veterans Homes has implemented MyndVR technology in 50 state Veterans homes as part of a nationwide philanthropic initiative. 

Brickler and the rest of the MyndVR team hope to continue to expand the initiative.

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