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Tampa General introduces new program to help vets with physical and mental health needs

Vets rehab
Posted at 6:18 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 16:09:48-05

TAMPA — This holiday season Tampa General Hospital is giving thanks to veterans. They just introduced a new program, free of charge, to help our vets stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy long after retirement.

For Jeff Barber, it seems like a lifetime ago when he was entering boot camp for the United States Air Force.

“Getting older I’m having lower back issues or knee issues and I want to stay active, I want to be a good role model for my kids,” said Barber.

Barber is one of 40 vets enrolled in Tampa General Hospital’s new Home Base Warrior Health and Fitness Program.

“The whole goal of this program is prevention, getting them started on the right foot when they come back from overseas, we really want to be proactive with this community,” said Kim Christine, with Tampa General Hospital.

Each veteran is matched with a personal trainer and dietitian, who come up with a plan tailored just for them.

“This whole program is free for veterans and so that’s been very encouraging to get into it,” said Barber. “I’ve had more increased energy, ability to do things, I’m not as hindered by any kind of back problems or anything.”

Trainer Chris Angel said once the vets reach a certain trust on the physical side, you can then move on to their mental and emotional needs.

“People will naturally start to develop relationships with their trainers and then they feel like they can really talk to you about the things that are plaguing them, and then we can, in turn, refer them to the proper resources to get them the help that they deserve,” said Angel.

The program lasts 90 days, then every quarter Tampa General accepts 40 new veterans. For information on how to sign up to

“So thankful, thank you very much to Tampa General Hospital and the personal trainers involved for doing this program, I highly encourage all veterans to do it,” said Barber.