“Hi Heather, we just finished up with our retreat yesterday and I just wanted to email you and thank you and everyone involved for this wonderful experience. People like yourself and all the amazing staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors are very rare to come by. My husband, left a letter with Sharon expressing his gratitude. And my family and I sat down and wrote a thank you notes to every one of the donors and the sponsors. It was the least we could do for what they helped Project Sanctuary do for our family. My kids had such an awesome time participating in all the activities.They made friends with the other kids and volunteers at childcare. They were all so amazing.
But, the biggest thing I personally give thanks for is the PTS class. This class is the reason my husband is seeking help today as I write this email. I knew something was going on with him, but [he] is the type to play things down and act like everything is ok. But, after sitting in the PTS Class, he came to the realization that he needed to talk to someone. He realized he does need help and he is acting on it. So, I just wanted to say thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart. We are looking forward to maybe going to one of your couple’s retreat, maybe we will see you again.”
“Now that 4 months has passed since we attended the retreat, I wanted to share with you what an impact you, your staff, and the retreat had on our family. When ‘John,’ ‘Baby Mary’ and I came out in October, we were in a much better place than we were a few months prior when our marriage almost ended, right before ‘Mary’ was born. However, we still had a lot of work to do though, and the stress of John’s job was impacting us negatively more than ever. I know that God put us on that specific retreat, at that exact time for a reason.
When we arrived in Denver, our stress levels were at an all-time high, but as the week progressed, things got easier. We were able to talk to each other in a nicer, more gentle tone, we looked at each other as husband and wife again and we genuinely enjoyed spending time together. The marriage and financial workshops kicked us in the right direction and we have not stopped using the tools that we learned in them.
Four months later, we have the best marriage that we have ever had. Our relationship has changed SO incredibly much since the retreat, and as a result, Mary’s life has too. Not only did you help to save our marriage, but you helped to save our family and our sanity.”
“I distinctly remember after every deployment there was a scheduled day for each company of Soldiers, and we would all line up in single file outside the clinic and file in one by one and talk to a counselor or psy doc, and it was always the exact same question and right to the point: “So, how do you feel, and is there anything wrong?” We didn’t even know the names of those that asked, and as far as my own personal stance, there was no way I was going to tell anyone that I didn’t know if I was having any issues. There were too many issues of being singled out or risks of being medically discharged if one was to speak up. I never said a word because I didn’t want to jeopardize my ability to provide for my family.
During the process of leaving the Army, it was ‘forced’ healing as I like to call it. There were too many people getting out at the same time as me, so everything was curtailed around a large group. Nothing was personalized. I don’t blame the Army for being the big machine that it is, but the fact is that they were not prepared to effectively transition soldiers to civilians. They did the best they could, I guess, but it’s not enough…. The day I was no longer a Soldier, I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. It’s all I knew for the past ten years. As soon as I left the unit area on my last day…that was it. No follow ups on how I was doing or what was going on. As far as what works…Project Sanctuary works. I knew when I went to our retreat and even when I volunteered. I saw the change then, and I see it now. I truly hope you realize how much of an impact that you make with everyone, Heather. It’s hard to put into words other than it’s amazing, and I can’t thank you enough.”