Caregivers of Veterans are the heart of the Caregiver Support Program (CSP). This November, CSP recognized National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) by honoring their incredible sacrifices and celebrating the many components that make caregivers who they are. As NFCM comes to an end, CSP is highlighting Veteran caregiver Joe Tryon, his many passions, and his commitment to help others. Read more about who Joe is in addition to being a caregiver and how CSP has supported his journey.
Joe Tryon has always been into fitness. He played sports as a kid, and after entering the United States (U.S.) Military Academy, West Point, staying in shape became part of his job as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Now, Joe uses his passion for fitness to help others through his company, Kinematics Personal Training.
“I really like being able to affect people’s lives in a positive way and helping them gain control of their bodies,” says Joe. Running his company is just one of the many hats Joe wears. He’s also the full-time caregiver for his wife, Melissa, who he met while they both attended West Point.
Married for 20 years now, Joe became Melissa’s caregiver due to an injury she sustained during her time of service in Iraq. Eventually, the couple sought support from Veterans Affairs (VA) and became participants in CSP’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). Around the same time, Joe was laid off from work. Critical tasks, like traveling to doctors’ appointments, became not only financially difficult, but physically painful as well due to Melissa’s neck and head traumas. The resources they found through VA became an essential form of support.
“[PCAFC] gave us so much freedom,” said Joe. “We were able to focus on getting her to a much better place and I was linked to other people I could talk to for support. Melissa’s certainly not cured, but she’s doing much better with me being able to take the time to care for her.”
Joe uses his journey as a caregiver to help others within CSP. For years, he’s been a mentor within VA’s Peer Support Mentoring Program (PSM), and most recently, he participated in a live caregiver panel in celebration of NFCM. During the panel (hosted by the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center and PSM), Joe gave his thoughts on practicing balance, self-care, and the importance of caregivers making time for the things they love.
Visit CSP’s website for more information about resources available through the Program of General Caregiver Support Services and Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. Want to learn more about the VA Peer Support Mentoring Program for caregivers of Veterans? Check out this booklet.