Chris Stack, a Defiance resident and veteran, who is licensed as a professional clinical counselor with several degrees, will be doing the counseling for veterans with PTSD.
Jessica Gerardot is a licensed clinical social worker from Fort Wayne and will be counseling persons who have suffered a military sexual trauma (MST) and also doing other counseling. She is a Fort Wayne resident.
Stack said he and Gerardot will offer individual and group counseling for combat veterans and their families. A person who has suffered an MST does not have to be a combat veteran. They will see anyone who has served in the military and says that they have suffered an MST. The veteran does not need to have proved she/he suffered an MST to receive counseling. They just need to say the trauma occurred and they will receive treatment.
Stack said, “Both of us will offer individual and group counseling for PTSD, readjustment issues, marriage and family counseling, alcohol and drug counseling... just about anything the veteran needs. For now, we will begin seeing veterans on Wednesdays. We may be able to allocate more time if the need is there.
The veterans can also come and see us at our Fort Wayne office, if needed. We are located at 5800 Fairfield Ave, suite 265, Fort Wayne, Ind. Our phone number is 260-460-1456. Veterans should call 260-460-1456 and ask for Chris or Jessica to schedule an appointment to see us in Defiance.
“Defiance is in between the Toledo vet center and our vet center in Fort Wayne,” he said. “For some veterans it is closer to use the vet center in Fort Wayne versus driving to the Toledo veteran center. In cooperation with the Toledo vet center, the Fort Wayne vet center will provide services to the veterans and their families in the Defiance area to better serve those in need.
“It was my idea to set up in Defiance for a day because I have some veterans who travel to my office and I live in Defiance,” he continued. “I thought I could spend a day per week in Defiance and save them a drive. I know there are a lot of veterans in the Defiance area and this will allow them to get treatment without the travel. Jessica and I will be doing all types of counseling as needed. Jessica, who is MST STEP qualified, will be handling all MST counseling.”
Stack said he lives in Defiance with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Ellie. Julie is a teacher at Defiance Elementary School where she teaches fifth grade.
“I am originally from southeastern Ohio,” he noted. “I am a veteran and retired police officer. I worked for a couple of law enforcement agencies and retired from the Findlay, Ohio, Police Department.” He completed his bachelor’s degree from Tiffin University, master’s from the University of Toledo, and the doctoral program at the University of Toledo.
“I have not completed the dissertation portion of the program. I am currently licensed as a professional clinical counselor,” he noted. “I have worked for a couple of federal agencies prior to working for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
“I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a soldier and a police officer,” he said. “I was blessed to be able to do both and served my country and community for most of my adult life. My brother and my father are both veterans and many of my law enforcement brothers served in the military too. I knew when I went to graduate school that I wanted to be able to serve my brothers and sisters from the military.
“The vet center is unique in that we only treat combat veterans who have deployed to a theater of operations so I get to serve the best of the best,” he said. “It is an honor to serve my fellow veterans and I take great pride in the services I provide to the great men and women who have sacrificed so much for their country. No one has sacrificed more than the military family and I am passionate about getting veterans and their loved ones the care they need and deserve. They are my family so this is not just a job for me. Veterans who have received treatment at a vet center are proud to be a part of our peer to peer program.”
“Jessica’s husband, Derek, is an army veteran so Jessica is also empathetic and passionate about serving veterans and their families,” he said.