ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – For the first time, a program in St. Charles County is giving a glimpse at how it empowers Marines and other service members to create the civilian life they deserve.

Many of the veterans involved in the weeklong camp say the FOCUS Marines Foundation has changed their lives like nothing else.

"I was never able to talk about it to anyone, didn't think anyone would understand," said Tyler Huffman.

In 2010, Huffman was shot serving in Afghanistan and was paralyzed from the waist down. The Marine Corp veteran says he's kept every emotion about it bottled up. 

"I saw it as punishment for pulling the trigger, for pulling the trigger and taking someone else's life," he said.

The veteran found conversations he needed to have at the camp in Defiance.

"We take the spirit of Semper Fi, always stay faithful, Marines taking care of their own and we run a program here where Marines figure out who they are, where they are, and who they want to be to lead a better life.," said Gunnery Sgt. Nick Popavich of the FOCUS Marines Foundation.

The classes and programs are designed to help Marines dig deep inside themselves to figure out what's really weighing them down and many other core issues that service members deal with.

"Somewhere in the years after deployment, I lost myself in all of my activities, all of the life happenings," said retired Marine Damien Wright.

Wright says it helps Marines like him create the life they deserve post-deployment. 

"We need a safe place to land, Focus is that place," Wright added. 

To get involved or make a donation, click here. 

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