Atlanta, GA,
15:17 PM

A Passion for Helping Veterans

The SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center gave Bill Duncan hope and so much more.

Bill Duncan, a senior superintendent for Choate Construction, has taken a special interest in the renovation of the building that houses Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative.

It’s not the first time Bill has spent a lot of time in that building. In fact, he credits SHARE for saving his life.

Bill, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who spent most of his time in the military as an infantryman, had been dealing with depression, anxiety, and anger management issues since his discharge in 2017 but couldn’t find help. It wasn’t until he heard about SHARE that he felt like things could change.

“I didn’t realize how hard it was to access mental health care until I tried to do it,” Bill says. “It was like I was on an island by myself, frantically searching for help. I was thinking, ‘Nobody gives a damn, so why should I care?’ I had suicidal ideations. Shepherd was my last hope.”

Bill entered SHARE in August 2020, where doctors diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and clinical depression. Right away, he began cognitive, behavioral, physical, and other types of therapy to work through both his emotional and physical symptoms.

“I learned that if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else,” says Bill, who is married with three children. “They give you a plethora of tools for your toolbox and teach you how to use them.”

Nearly two years later, Bill says he is a different person with a more positive outlook. He is now finding ways to make life better for his fellow veterans.

“I have a passion for helping veterans,” he says. “Because I’ve been there.”

He created an employee resource group at Choate that raises money for veterans and veteran organizations. He describes it as “veterans helping veterans.” He is also very involved in Shepherd’s Men, a volunteer group of civilians and active duty and retired service members who advocate for veterans and support SHARE.

“My story started at SHARE,” Bill says of his transformation. “Everything else was a lead-up to that. The people there care about you walking out of there better than you walked in. It’s the most amazing place in the world.”

Written by Sara Baxter

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.