The decades-old experience of a Moore County veteran compelled him to co-found a treatment facility.

He wanted to help veterans and first responders fighting two serious problems at once – PTSD and substance abuse.

Tom Spooner spent 21 years in the service, getting sober at a young age – in 1992.

“I did 12 deployments, 40 total months in combat, so I’ve had my fair share of PTSD and mild-traumatic-brain-injury from a few very close explosions,” he said.

He credits his sobriety for helping his recovery – physically and mentally.

In 2016, he helped found Warriors Heart, a national organization and physical recovery center in Texas, to help veterans dealing with substance abuse and PTSD.

The hope is to intervene before someone takes their life.

“Most of them, not all, before they took their own lives, they were on something. Alcohol, drugs, so that is what we’re trying to do at Warriors Heart. Get ahead of the event,” Spooner said.

There is a documentary about Warriors Heart that explains services and how people can seek help.

Since its founding in 2016, Spooner estimates 1,700 people – veterans and first responders – men and women – have come through the program, some seeking help for themselves, and some encouraged by their families.

Either way, for Spooner, it is simply about sharing his strength with others trying to find the same power he did 30 years ago.