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The Hero’s Journey

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Above image credit: Making the leap at the Warriors’ Ascent Academy of Healing. (Photo: Chase Castor)

In March of 2013, a group of combat veterans and first responders from all over the United States arrived at Heartland Center in Parkville, Missouri for Class 003 of Warriors’ Ascent’s Academy of Healing. Warriors’ Ascent is a non-profit organization based in Kansas City, started by combat veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“80,000 Veterans take their own lives each decade. As a community of Warriors, we can’t stand by while that happens.” That’s part of the opening salvo on the Warriors’ Ascent website.

Many people who have served under traumatic conditions, forever changed by their service, return to life as they left it. Most lack the opportunity to process, heal and even recognize the need for healing. Warriors’ Ascent aims to be the guide and helper for these men and women as they move toward healing.

Photographer Chase Castor followed Class 003 through the academy.

KCPT’s Lindsey Foat spent time with Army veteran Andrew Potter, a participant in the Warrior’s Ascent program who now helps guide others through the process.

Video | A Higher Purpose: KC Veteran Opens Rock Climbing Gym with a Mission

This photo essay and accompanying profile are part of KCPT’s project Veterans Coming Home, an innovative cross-platform public media campaign that bridges America’s military-civilian divide by telling stories, challenging stereotypes and exploring how the values of service and citizenship are powerful connectors for all Americans.

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