Combat veterans gather for Welcome Home Initiative

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – As Veterans Day approaches, a church is helping those who served in combat with a three-day retreat.

Saturday, about 200 people gathered at Galilee Episcopal Church to welcome veterans from around the country to the Welcome Home retreat, part of By His Wounds ministry.

The program included testimony from veterans, who talked about their relationship with God, and the process of healing from combat.

“I was very angry,” said Jeff Ballantine, a veteran from Oklahoma who served in Iraq. “I didn’t understand why God allows certain things to happen. […] By coming here, I was able to work through that anger. Instead of shelving my emotions, I was able to talk to other veterans. There is real healing in that.”

Since it began in 2015, the Welcome Home Initiative has served more than 300 veterans and their families.

For more information on participating or contributing to the program, visit the Welcome Home Initiative website.