LAURINBURG — The employees of BlueScope Buildings are partnering with Laughs for the Troops to help military service members and veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Laugh for the Troops is in the process of developing an app that will be made available free of charge to service members and veterans who suffer from PTSD and/or TBI. The app aims to evoke positive emotions and laughter during critical painful times, and offer automated connections to individuals and organizations that can help make a difference for PTSD/TBI sufferers.
The company will host a charity golf tournament on April 29 at Cypress Creek Golf Links in Laurinburg. The tournament proceeds will be donated to Laughs for the Troops and will be used to help fund the app development.
“With just a click on their phone, the PTSD/TBI sufferer can access a funny story or joke that can help them refocus on a positive message,” said founder Thomas Brown, a Carnival Cruise Line comedian. “But more importantly, the same app can connect them with a family member, friend or professional that can offer them help in their time of desperation.”
Laughs for the Troops is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness for PTSD and TBI and offers comedic relief and other services to service members, veterans and their families.
Debbie James, an employee of BlueScope Buildings in Laurinburg, met Brown at one of his shows on Carnival Cruise Lines, and was intrigued by his efforts.
“When I learned about the Laughs for the Troops mission, I felt that perhaps I could help make a difference too, because I know individuals who suffer from PTSD,” James said. “I went home from my cruise refreshed from our vacation, but with a new purpose.”
“Each year the employees of our company hold a “give back” event and donate thousands of dollars to a chosen charity,” she said. “When I presented the idea to the employee committee, the team unanimously selected Laughs for Troops.”
Laughs for the Troops’ mission is to raise awareness and to offer a distraction from the pain, as well as to stimulate the healing process by bringing top talent comedians to perform at events, such as The Funniest Night in America. Through this family-friendly event and other events and resources, Brown aims to increase awareness of PTSD and offer help to those who suffer.
“Our military men and women put their lives on the line in service for the freedoms we enjoy,” Brown said. “More than anyone, they deserve our support – they deserve to be first in line to be cared for.”
Brown founded Laughs for the Troops by putting his talents to work for the cause after his own father passed away in 2011. Growing up with a single dad who experienced PTSD from his service in World War II, Brown had first-hand knowledge of the effects of PTSD, not only for the veteran, but also for the entire family.
“The wounds of PTSD, often referred to as the invisible wounds of war, are comparable to other ‘visible’ wounds,” stated Brown, “and they continue to impact the service member and their families long after they come home from war.”