On the front lines: Iron Heart Recovery hopes to help treat veterans, first responders and men with trauma-related disorders

By: Jessica Fraser
| Published 07/19/2019


CONROE, TX -- We’ll never understand the traumatic experiences our veterans and first responders face daily while on duty. Armed with a mighty vision, Iron Heart Recovery is hoping to help treat veterans, first responders and men struggling with trauma-related disorders, such as PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety and depression, with interim housing and counseling. Where those who bravely served once stood, now Iron Heart Recovery is on the front lines for those men in need.

Iron Heart Recovery will be a facility for veterans, first responders and men who will receive daily, intensive treatment by licensed counselors in a supportive environment with a high level of accountability for personal growth. Iron Heart Recovery was born out of an idea from the Clinical Director and Program Director of The Refuge, a trauma and counseling center in Conroe that has been operating for almost five years. The Refuge’s “hope is to make a significant impact in the lives of a multitude of people. To bring fathers home to their children, to return sons to their families, to return friends and role models to a community. We want to bring those who are hurting and dealing with the pain of trauma to a place of peace and hope.” Unfortunately, The Refuge was not able to house the men as they went through counseling. There was no safe environment with accountability.

“These men were going home to toxic, unsafe environments,” Ashley Greer, Community Coordinator for Iron Heart Recovery, said. “Many may be homeless or on the verge of homelessness. They need a place to be safe while they go through counseling.”

Greer joined the Iron Heart team after her husband and her went through counseling at The Refuge. Greer’s husband is a Marine veteran who struggled with PTSD.

“The Refuge helped him to better deal with triggers when they come,” Greer said. “He served two tours in Iraq, and it changed him. At The Refuge he worked on being the husband and father that God intended him to be after he got home.”

Those life-altering moments on the front lines change the men forever. Iron Heart Recovery is hoping in the next six months to provide the residential facility for men to work on recovery and healing. However, in order to secure a facility, there’s a big need.

“We need about $60,000 to secure a temporary housing facility and cover utilities,” Greer said. “We have men ready to enter today, but nowhere to house them at this moment. $60,000 would help us begin that process. While one day we would love land and to build our own facility, right now our biggest need is to find a place where we can house them so they can receive treatment.”

The families of those men entering into the Iron Heart Recovery residential facility will also receive resources and help.

“The family side is just as important,” Greer said. “We will provide support for the family, individual counseling sessions for the spouse, family sessions, and parenting sessions with children, including a weekly support group where they can start their own healing, which is just as important as for their loved ones. We’ll also have resources for them and guide them in the right direction post-treatment, including aftercare and follow up treatment if necessary.”

October 12 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Iron Heart Recovery will host their first fundraiser in the community at McDade Park in Conroe. It will be a day of family fun, complete with music, food, inflatables, raffles, face painting and a fire truck for the kids. All proceeds from the day will go toward the Iron Heart Recovery treatment program.

“We’re starting from the ground up,” Greer said. “Any and all help we can get is appreciated. This is a really wonderful program, and it’s going to change lives.”

There’s a need, and Iron Heart Recovery is looking to the community to help impact those men who keep our community safe. Donations can be made online at www.ironheartrec.org. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation toward the October event, you can email Ashley at ashley@refugetraumacenter.com or call 936-648-5379 with questions.

For more information about The Refuge and the services they provide, you can visit refugetraumacenter.com. The Refuge is located at 3513 North Frazier Street in Conroe.