Mental illness is a struggle that many people deal with every day. Our police, fire, and veteran communities are groups that are more commonly known to deal with those struggles on a day-to-day basis. There are many outlets for these men and women to seek help and guidance, but none are quite as special as our very own local 501C3, Therapeutic Recreation Group (TRG).
1 in 3 service members will enter the VA system with a mental health diagnosis. “This is obviously a problem and it’s not slowing down,” PJ Kratohvil, co-founder of Therapeutic Recreation Group said. “Studies show that therapeutic recreation is working and is actually being accredited as a form of therapy,” PJ said.
And that is exactly what TRG focuses on doing. They target our local police, fire, and veteran communities getting them motivated, up, and active while building a network in our local community.
TRG creates events for Veterans and first responders of all types to participate in. Just recently the nonprofit took a group to Arkansas for a duck hunting trip. The event was sponsored by Beretta, a company that TRG partners with and are one of the biggest and oldest firearms dealers in the world. “We provide these veterans & first responders with everything that they’ll need for the event and to be able to recreate their experience once they get home. Four of the guys that went on this last trip have already used those shotguns and gear to recreate the experience,” PJ said. “Our Mayor Derek France was in attendance for the event as well as our TRG Team and a few Flower Mound fire guys.”
It’s in the downtime when you’re sitting at home that you start to feel those dark emotions that lead to drastic measures such as suicide. PJ’s close friend, Marine buddy, and co-founder of Therapeutic Recreation Group Robbie Horne knows that pain all too well. His brother, who also served in USMC took his own life. That tragedy plays a big part in why these two decided to start TRG.
Last year TRG hosted 8 events and put just over 100 veterans and first responders through the program with a budget of $50,000. “We did a lot for not having a lot,” PJ said. They did a range of different events, Hunting, hiking, fishing, even partnered with a marriage and family counselor hosting a marriage retreat down in south Texas. “I’m proud of our Team and the trajectory of the organization. We don’t have all the answers or resources but continue to get out there and make things happen! We’re not nonprofit gurus just normal folks with jobs trying to dial in on and directly attack a major issue affecting our community.”
This year the goal is to do exactly what they did last year but do it better. “ We’re really not looking to reinvent the wheel or even expand on our event list for this season we really want to focus on funding, creating more partnerships, and getting more sponsors involved,” PJ said. The Ivy brothers out of east Texas are a couple of true patriots that came alongside us when many that could have didn’t, helping to facilitate & sponsor events, Complete Exterior Solutions out of Flower Mound, North Texas Truxx accessories out of Lewisville, Peeler family out of south Texas and a few faithful local families have gotten involved.
When it comes to the future, TRG has an impressive 5-year plan. They want to keep putting together bigger and better events, building local networks, and attacking the needs of our veteran and first responder community. Right now, TRG is solely based locally in North Texas, however, in the next five years they would like to expand into South Texas, which is where Robbie is located.
“We also want to purchase some property that could be used for events as well as a revenue stream by hosting things such as leadership classes and retreats,” PJ said. The property would also be able to provide jobs for those that they are servicing. “When our warfighters are introduced to corporate America the dynamic is very different and for many, it can be very difficult. Veterans struggle to fit in when they get out. This would give us the opportunity to have a job that might fit them,” PJ said.
With the growth and success that TRG has seen in just under the two years they have been established, it’s safe to say that they are on the right track to making those goals a reality. With the help and support of generous sponsors, Therapeutic Recreation Group can continue with their mission of positively impacting