Healing Smoke: How BBQ saved a life

Veteran overcomes PTSD through food
Posted at 2:49 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 15:57:11-04

HARKER HEIGHTS — Post-traumatic stress disorder impacts thousands of soldiers and veterans every year and this month raises awareness about the struggles that many people face.

One U.S Army Veteran has not only overcome his trauma but is now working towards making his community better through food.

“Barbecue did save my life,” Steven Rossler, a husband, father, veteran and owner of Rossler's Blue Cord Barbecue, told 25 News.

“It means family, it means gathering, it means comradery. It takes me back to a time before the military, you know just a child,” Rossler said.

Rossler learned the ins and outs of cooking when he was just a kid when his dad would BBQ every Sunday.

“He instilled the basics in me and that’s what allowed me to get better,” Rossler said.

When Rossler was serving in the military he brought his skills with him, spreading his love of BBQ.

“U.S soldiers would get together and we would just BBQ after the exercises we had to do, assignments or deployment,” Rossler said.

But, he experienced trauma overseas both physically and emotionally which eventually turned into PTSD.

“We lost four guys pretty quickly into our deployment and that really changed me," Rossler said. "There was a year and a half that I was just lost.”

His mental health was not only beginning to take a toll on himself but his relationship with his wife.

“I was having a lot of issues, and she said ‘If you can’t figure this out, I’m gone,” Rossler said.

It was then that he knew he needed to seek professional help and put his energy into the one thing that helped bring him peace.

“Seeing what he is able to go through and then to have this and be able to find a way out of that darkness of where he could be and where he has been before, it’s amazing,” said Kristen Rossler, Steven's wife and Co-Owner and Rossler’s Blue Cord BBQ.

And while some days Rossler still struggles, he knows that by doing what he loves, he is honoring the soldiers that never made it home.

“I show love and support to them because I get to do what I love when they didn’t," Rossler said.