Hope for the Holidays

As a mother myself, I could feel the lump in my throat swell with each word on Angela’s form. “My son and I have not been able to connect since I came back from Iraq. He is leaving for the Army on June 27. This is really our last chance to connect before he goes off to start his own life.”

After the 16-year War on Terror, our fighting force has become multi-generational. Sons and daughters are now serving in the same combat zones that have forever changed the lives of their mothers and fathers.

This was now the case for Angela and Aviyan. They needed hope, and time was running out.

Angela’s military career started nearly five years prior to the attacks on 9/11. A single mother, her service and sacrifice were both in honor of her country and to provide a better life for her kids.

The family moved around to five duty stations in a matter of 13 years, but it was Angela’s deployments—first to Iraq and then to Afghanistan—that began truly testing their bonds with one another.

In addition to the emotional pain and fragmentation that had devastated her family, Angela returned with permanent injuries, both visible and invisible.

When her son Aviyan decided to follow in her footsteps, Angela suddenly had a new set of orders: to reconnect as a  family before yet another enlistment took perhaps its final toll.

Then Angela came across Project Sanctuary’s program in her  Facebook feed. She kept running across it before eventually visiting the website and completing an application. Finally, Angela thought, an opportunity to heal.

At Project Sanctuary, Angela and Aviyan were able to pause, breathe, and reconnect. “Being able to spend such quality time with my son before he left to begin his own life, gave me hope. It was a life-changing  experience. We were able to talk, connect, spend quality time and bond. I found out things about my son that I never knew, and vice versa,” Angela recalls.

Aviyan has completed basic training, and is now stationed at Fort Gordon, GA, where he is studying to be an Information Technology Specialist. Angela tells me their relationship is closer than ever and they now have hope for the future.

As children are now going on to fight in the same wars as their parents, Project Sanctuary’s mission to take families from “battle ready” to “family ready” now means helping them to become “battle ready” once again. This time, though, equipped with a support network to navigate challenges with resilience and hope.

With your help, we can continue providing opportunities for families to reconnect and thrive. Your gift today will provide respite for families to turn inward and repair tattered  relationships. Together, we are forever changing the lives of our service members and those who love them—just like Angela and Aviyan. Join us this holiday season in providing hope to our nation’s heroes.

Warmest thanks,

Heather Ehle

P.S. 2,000 families, just like Angela’s, are currently on our wait list after courageously reaching out for help. Your donation will make a difference today, restoring hope to those who have  sacrificed—and those who continue to sacrifice—so much on our behalf.






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