St Marys resident marches in Veterans Day parade

St. Marys resident and wounded veteran David Yoho, and his wife Susie, will be walking in the New York City Veterans Day Parade this year with UCLA Health Operation Mend, which provides specialty health care services to service members or veterans injured in the line of duty after 9/11.

Yoho, a retired Army staff sergeant, has been a patient with UCLA Operation Mend for several years. With a total of 19 years of service in Special Operations, first in the Navy and then the Army, Yoho suffered a number of physical injuries as well as 17 moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.

His wife had heard about Operation Mend through the Warrior Care Network, a partnership between Wounded Warrior Project and four academic medical centers, including UCLA, which provides intensive treatment for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. When they called for help, they learned that UCLA’s program also offered surgical treatment and could address his physical injuries too.

At UCLA, Yoho has undergone surgeries on both hands, elbows and his left shoulder. Another surgery on his right shoulder is next. In 2016, he and his wife also went through the six-week outpatient intensive treatment program that helps veterans and their family members learn together how to cope with the invisible wounds of war.

Yoho credits the program with helping him learn how to open up and talk about things as part of the healing process.

“I’m looking forward to representing Operation Mend in the parade. It is one of the best programs any wounded warrior can go through,” Yoho said. “I tell people that if you want to be better, it will make you better.”

This will be the eighth year that UCLA Operation Mend patients, family members, doctors, staff and supporters have participated in the parade on Nov. 11.

“It’s truly an honor for us to walk in the New York City Veterans Day parade with our patients and their families who sacrificed so much for our country,” said Troy Simon, executive director, Operation Mend, UCLA Health Military and Veteran Health Programs.

Founded in 2007, UCLA Operation Mend is available to eligible veterans injured during combat operations or while training for service. All medical care, travel and accommodations are provided at no cost to participants and their families.

Tribune & Georgian

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