Belmont University alumni Evan and Jenny Owens have created a nonprofit organization to help soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan renew their relationships with God.
Reboot Recovery began in the couple’s living room as a supplement to counseling and medical treatment that veterans. In February it relocated to Fort Campbell military base.
“They fight in a war oversees and come home and expect things to continue as normal, but then they are fighting a war in other battles. If you come from a spiritual perspective, then we are talking about Satan,” said Jenny, an occupational therapist in the military base’s traumatic brain injury clinic. “They feel like God is judging them, and they can’t fit into a traditional church congregation because of their experiences. It is amazing how God works and how Reboot Recovery has grown beyond what we envisioned for it.”
The class has blossomed into a 12-week group program for soldiers, their spouses and children to talk about symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and how to view them through a spiritual lens. Each session begins with a home-cooked meal and anecdotal story that leads to Evan’s lecture. They use the Bible and “The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-centered Solutions for Combat Trauma” by Chris Adsit as a workbook.
“A lot of service members receive physiological treatment and physical treatment, but no one was treating the core of these wounds – the wounds to the soul and to the heart,” Evan said. “Many are having marriage troubles. There is something beautiful that happens where on the car ride home, someone who hasn’t had anything of substance to talk about for weeks or a month suddenly has a load of thoughts to unpack from our sessions.” Many of the soldiers struggle with guilt, forgiveness and unprocessed grief from watching the death of comrades.
“This helps them to get in touch with emotions they don’t want to share, the atrocity that they have experienced. (Reboot Recovery) is allowing communication on a topic that was once taboo. That is how you heal, is through processing your trauma,” Jenny said.
Now on their third run, the Owenses have worked with 25 families. They are writing a curriculum to create Reboot Recovery groups at military bases and churches across the country and looking for donors to sponsor dinners and purchase books.
While at Belmont, Jenny (’05, ’07) studied pre-occupational therapy with a music minor and completed her doctorate in occupational therapy. Evan (’05) majored in music voice with a music business minor.
“Belmont played a significant role in my spiritual growth and development. So in terms of embracing our faith and learning how to minister to people and how to share the Gospel, Belmont taught us how to live out our faith in our professional career,” Jenny said.