Veteran with PTSD Helps Himself by Helping Others

Aubrey Francis prepares meal for guests at Manna cafe
by Mark Mcgrath
Categories: Volunteer Stories
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When thoughts of horror and loss start to seep into his mind, Aubrey Francis focuses on the positive things in his life―volunteering and his faith.

Over a span of 20 years, Francis served 11 tours of duty. He was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and left the military. He continued to have nightmares of frightening scenes, withdrew from family and friends, and became a workaholic in his small chip truck business

Before long, Francis was asked to volunteer as a chef with The Salvation Army’s Manna Café (a bistro-style environment), in Gananoque, Ont. which serves the hungry and those struggling to make ends meet.

“The café is a place where everyone is welcome to enjoy a free meal and conversation,” says Francis. “And it’s a place that cheers me up and keeps me motivated. It’s a sense of community.

“Giving back and doing something good helps my PTSD. I often find myself in the dining area sharing my experiences to help others know there is hope. When I do that, I’ve had a good day.”