Near the Santa Monica Pier there is place where heroes are honored. Every Sunday, wooden crosses are erected in the sand to commemorate each soldier who has fought and died while serving in Iraq.
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Moved by the losses, Judith Broder felt a need to do something for the men and women fortunate enough to make it home alive. A growing number of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, especially ones who’ve done multiple tours, experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This anxiety disorder can lead to depression and, in some cases, suicide.
In her mission known as The Soldiers Project, Broder and other doctors now provide free confidential psychotherapy for these veterans in hopes of easing their struggle while also educating their families and communities on how to help them readjust to home.
Her inspiring work earned her the 2009 Purpose Prize, which is awarded to individuals in the second half of life who are using their experience to tackle some of America’s most pressing problems.