Before I was born, my dad served honorably in the peacetime Army National Guard between the Korean and Vietnam Wars/Conflicts. To him, “serving is what you did” and Veteran’s Day “was for the combat vets”. He instilled in my brother and I a love of history and the cost of our freedom. Our family vacations were all about bringing history alive by seeing where it took place and challenging us to imagine being there ourselves. The books he read to understand missing pieces of history not taught in schools, impacted me as I got older. I was born before the Tet Offensive, and wanted to learn about Vietnam and what in the world happened to our society. I had a lot of questions and history books barely touched on the subject so instead I turned to personal accounts written by the vets themselves. Wow did that open one’s eyes. Yet it still baffles my mind why our returning vets were treated like dirt helping the vets to retreat deeper inside themselves.
I am also a Neuroscience RN who has witnessed care in our VA system at different times in my life and in different states. Long story short- wow what a failed system. There has to be another way. Yet what I hear from war vets is the private sector does not understand combat. Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, etc. helped bring this failed system out for public view . So how can a professional healthcare civilian help?
While reading books from our “new” vets I came across “Lone Survivor”. I scratched my head because Luttrell co-authored the book while he was still an active Naval Special Operator. I knew enough to ask-what?! I went online to find out whether the Navy ordered him to do so. Came across a particular interview in which the host gave Marcus Luttrell a check for his foundation. What foundation???
I did some online research about the LSF and made a call to the Foundation. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. A vet founded foundation based on his own experience with the “out of the box” approach that helped him when he first returned after ORW. One “area” of focus with a small list of whom LSF will initially serve. Working to build up the service individual, then with the spouse then with the kids in order to help them communicate and understand each other better. Listening to how LSF does this and hearing the comments from those participants at the retreats plus finances focused heavily on those being served by LSF and not on staff and other overhead, was all it took for me to sign up to help. What keeps me being a monthly supporter are the program changes as new proven therapies come along, the increasing number of applications prompting a need for more facilities, monthly updates from LSF with retreat participants thoughts, and keeping the focus small while expanding to include pre 9/11.
What would I like to share with the veterans and families that attend LSF retreats you ask? I care about you.
If you would like to learn how you can become a monthly donor, please visit www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org/monthly-giving/