JACKSONVILLE, NC (WECT) - While America's involvement with the war on terrorism is winding down, the signs of what many of this country's military men and women went thru while overseas is still very present at the Marine Corps Wounded Warriors Battalion East, based at Camp Lejeune.
For twenty three years, Karen Vaughn has been treating patients, like Ben Smith, with acupuncture.
Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that treats patients by insertion and manipulation of needles in the body. Proponents say it relieves pain, treats infertility and treats disease, promotes general health, or can be used for therapeutic purposes.
Vaughn is in her office Monday thru Thursday, but every Friday she travels to Camp Lejeune, and administers acupuncture to a special group, The Wounded Warrior Regiment of the Marine Corps. The Corps created the regiment to respond to the needs of the service members fighting the war on terror and became a casualty in doing so.
"When I first started, it was like pulling teeth to get these guys to drive it, because some of them had, like 30 or 40 surgeries, and now people are waiting in line at the duty desk for me when I first walk in," said Karen Vaughn. "And it is even to the point that we have such a turnover of guys coming in and out all the time, the guys who have been here a while will bring a new guy and introduce him to me, then proceed to explain to the new guy why he needs to get acupuncture."
Vaughn started her weekly trips to Camp Jejune over two years ago, but it is not only treatment, and hopefully relief of pain, that Vaughn brings to the Wound Warriors. At least once a month, she takes food for the men and women to enjoy.
To help with expenses of supplies, food and gasoline, some of Vaughn's patients assist with donations. Additionally, a weekly happy hour acupuncture session, held near of Oleander Drive office, raises some more money.
"One hundred percent of that money goes to fund what I do with the Wounded Warriors," said Vaughn.
For her unselfish work with these military heroes, we salute Karen Vaughn, as a hero herself, our Cape Fear Hero for the month of April.
As a result of being selected as this month's Cape Fear Hero, Karen receives a $500 gift certificate from Reed's Jewelers.