My wife and I know first-hand the toll that multiple combat deployments can have on individuals and families, and I am grateful that an organization like Project Sanctuary is there to help place veterans and their families on a path to a rewarding and successful future. I firmly believe in Project Sanctuary’s mission, and I am honored to be a part of this outstanding organization.
I also have the opportunity to give back to our soldiers and their family through volunteering at different retreats. The amount of sacrifice that our military families give to our country is unlike any other. The joy that I receive from seeing families reconnecting and walls crumbling down is transforming.
I attended a retreat as an observer and was struck by the conversation I had with a teenage boy from Tennessee. We were standing outside at the retreat facility in Winter Park. Coincidentally it was Veteran’s Day. We made small talk that eventually led to him sharing “big” talk about the change he saw in his father during the week his family had been on site. The conversation stuck with me and convinced me I wanted to support Project Sanctuary with something more than my dollars.
I joined the Project Sanctuary Board shortly thereafter in 2014. I have seen the passion of the Project Sanctuary team in everything they do – always putting the needs of the families first. Where do we go to heal — for me the idea that we would start in nature, close to our families makes a lot of sense symbolically and spiritually. I am honored to be able to lend my experience and talents to that healing process.
The core value of Project Sanctuary that continues to stand out to me is its focus not just on the veteran, but that individual’s closest support system: the family. My wife and I know first-hand the toll that multiple combat deployments can have on individuals and families, and I am grateful that an organization like Project Sanctuary is there to help place veterans and their families on a path to a rewarding and successful future. I firmly believe in Project Sanctuary’s mission, and I am honored to be a part of this outstanding organization.
As a peer mentor, I love connecting with other veterans and watch them heal as time goes by. It’s not always automatic, but I try to show them that there is hope after their struggles with PTSD.
E is for Excellence. PS does their very best to excel at accomplishing the mission. They are very much mission-focused. PS has excelled in this arena because of the people we have working for us. They truly are sacrificial.
R is for Resilience. I have found that Project Sanctuary has a Resilient mindset. They look for ways to encourage, strengthen and empower veterans and their family members.
V is for Veteran. They truly are veteran focused. This organization never loses sight of why it was created. They continuously look for ways to improve services to veterans and their family members.
E is for Employees. An organization is only as good as they employees that serve. They are the ones who are on the front lines every day, looking for ways to encourage, support, uplift and help meet the needs of those who have served our country. They are Project Sanctuary’s number one asset.
It is an honor to serve those who have served as well. It’s just not about the service member, but equally as important the spouse and children. We’ve been there, and want to be part of the solution. After attending our first retreat in October 2016 as a volunteer, we witnessed the power of the retreat and the changes in the families from day 1 to the last day. We believe in the cause, and see the need for Project Sanctuary. We feel, by volunteering and presenting First Command’s Money Matters class, we help, in some small way, in making the lives of the families just a little better. We’re a part of the Project Sanctuary family because we love it.
PS gives me the ultimate paycheck when they have helped us during deployments, challenges and being there when we needed support. I believe that when I volunteer I am filling in the gaps that are essential for a successful retreat. I wash dishes, cook (not as good at TR), help with youth program, play games, talk with families, represent at PS fundraising events and more. I implore everyone to volunteer, not only will you be helping others, you will be helping yourself as well. Be the driving force behind social change and how PS advocates for military families.
As the first U.S. American in my family, I’ve always felt a deep commitment to helping returning soldiers, and working with Project Sanctuary allows me to continue this commitment.
As we all know Heather’s arm reach far beyond any one person and I truly feel she is a role model to show each of us how much farther we can reach to make a difference. I stayed with Project Sanctuary after discovering that one person can make a difference with the love and dedication and the strength of community and belonging you find here. It is my privilege to be part of an organization that focuses its energy and resources on families first and recognizes that everyone has worth.
Simply put, the suicide rate of these warriors is far too high! We are here to change that. I am here, as a civilian who has lived the life of a warrior and who has the passion, understanding, empathy, and clinical training needed to connect deeply with the vets in the program to help them find that inner light they have sometimes lost touch with.
Though I learned through my job about many of the transition issues our military families face after deployments, it was more academic than personal since my dad was already out of the military by the time I was born. A 2012 conversation with my cousin whose husband served for 19 years and who had just moved her family halfway across the country because Uncle Sam handed her husband a “pink slip” on his way home from his last deployment suddenly made it personal.
Seeing this strong woman whom I had known my whole life and had rarely seen shaken on the verge of tears as she talked about how difficult the adjustment had been and continued to be and listening to her talk about how her community – not just her husband’s – was gone really shook me and made it very real to me.
A week later – literally, one week – I was presented with the opportunity to work with Project Sanctuary. Some things just seem meant to be. And with every military family we help, I feel as if we are helping my family, too.
I don’t want anyone else to suffer or struggle with PTSD. I want other veterans, and their families, to know what PTSD is and how to manage it. I joined Project Sanctuary because I believe in their mission, and have witness their healing affect on my family and myself. I volunteered to be a Walton’s Warrior to mentor my fellow veterans and their families. I want my fellow veterans to know and understand they are not alone, there is hope and healing.
My dad first heard about Project Sanctuary, passed the information along to me and I was immediately inspired with their mission of supporting the entire military family. I volunteered at my first retreat almost two years ago and fell even more in love with this organization, the staff, the volunteers and the families. It was truly a humbling and amazing experience, one of my favorite volunteer experiences. Since my first retreat, I have joined the Operation Project Sanctuary Gala squad on the marketing committee and I volunteered at my second retreat in 2016. I have been blessed to be able to work with such an amazing organization and I hope I can continue to volunteer at retreats in the future.
Our home is the center of relationships, with family and friends bringing laughter and joy. Project Sanctuary is one extension of our desire to be with people and the Healthy Marriage piece is an expression of what we truly believe is a healthy marriage for us. Coming together to encourage couples/families towards a flourishing lifestyle is part of our calling and why we are excited to be part of the vision of Project Sanctuary!
Most importantly, I answer the call when he comes home and isn’t the same – and she’s terrified to think what demons may have followed him home. My work for Project Sanctuary is inspired by healing the heartache, calming the fear, building the memories claimed by years spend apart, and helping to put the pieces back together – even when those pieces seem to have changed.
We ask much of military families to endure in the important work of defending freedom. As a Project Sanctuary volunteer, I’ve been able to bear witness to the good work that goes on at these restorative retreats. It is truly a blessing to be able to give our nation’s heroes and their families access to the healing, hope and empowerment they so deserve. Thank you, Project Sanctuary, and all who support!
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