Making a difference by serving her Military Family
Story by Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
CANTON, Ohio. (05/20/19)
Ohio Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Kellie King Feciuch understands the challenges service members can face when they return from a deployment. She struggled to find her way after the first of two deployments.
“When I returned from Afghanistan in 2003, my perspective on life drastically changed. I was one semester away from my bachelor’s degree in business and decided that was no longer a good fit for me. After experiencing life in a war zone, I knew my destiny had shifted but I wasn’t sure what that would look like moving forward,” King Feciuch said.
She discovered her passion while getting a dual master’s degree in school and mental health counseling from the University of Akron.
“I wanted to find a way to connect service members and veterans with one another without the associated fears of stigma,” she said. “They want to be a valued part of their communities as they transition home. Our sacrifices are not limited to our tours overseas. We want to make a difference when we return.”
She and a colleague started a support group called Veterans in Recovery in 2014. According to King Feciuch, anywhere from 10 to about 30 men and women come every Wednesday night to the Goodwill campus in Canton, Ohio to talk about whatever they may be facing, including substance abuse, relationship problems and mental health issues. The effort has been so successful a second group has been added that meets every Thursday night in nearby Louisville.
Army veteran Robert Chula said he initially joined the group after 14 years of sobriety to serve “as an example of success in dealing with addictions,” but he has also benefited from “the camaraderie of being with fellow veterans of all ages.”
King Feciuch said the group is designed by veterans for veterans, and “enables service members and veterans in my community to build the comradery and support they were missing.”
Group co-founder Gary Corbett has been impressed with King Feciuch’s passion for service.
“Her dedication to the creation of our support groups is indicative of her desire to reach out to as many veterans and service members in our community as possible by providing a safe haven for us to share our experience, strength and hope with each other,” he said. “It continues to amaze me that she can so artfully balance her service in the Ohio National Guard, her career in the counseling field and her dedication to her loving family while maintaining her passion for helping service members and veterans to address life’s issues.”
King Feciuch is assigned to Joint Force Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio as an equal opportunity advisor. In her civilian job, she’s a psychological health coordinator for the Ohio Army National Guard, where she provides behavioral health services and resources to Soldiers and their units. She also works in the community to raise awareness about the emotional and behavioral needs of Soldiers.
“This is not work to me, it is who I am. I am a Soldier who is committed to other Soldiers to provide support and empathy. It goes beyond my degree as a professional clinician, it is the core of what I need to do for my Military Family,” she said.
With the support of James, her husband of 19 years, and their nearly 2-year-old son, King Feciuch is making a difference by serving her Military Family, her community and her country.