MPF's Monthly Nonprofit Spotlight - July 13, 2016
OUR MISSION STATEMENT at http://rollingthunderri1.com/?page_id=8
THE MAJOR FUNCTION OF ROLLING THUNDER ®, INC. IS TO PUBLICIZE THE POW-MIA ISSUE: TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC THAT MANY AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR WERE LEFT BEHIND AFTER ALL PREVIOUS WARS AND TO HELP CORRECT THE PAST AND TO PROTECT FUTURE VETERANS FROM BEING LEFT BEHIND SHOULD THEY BECOME PRISONERS OF WAR-MISSING IN ACTION. WE ARE ALSO COMMITTED TO HELPING AMERICAN VETERANS FROM ALL WARS.
Members are NOT required to have a motorcycle.
Members are NOT required to be a veteran.
You do not need to be a Veteran to belong to our Chapter. If you have a sincere interest in promoting the POW/MIA issue and are willing to abide by the Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Constitution and the By-Laws of Rolling Thunder®, Inc., RI Chapter One, you are eligible for active membership. We are a Veterans service organization, NOT a motorcycle club.
**Applications are only given in hand at monthly meetings.**
FACT SHEET at http://rollingthunderri1.com/?page_id=6
Incorporated in 1995, Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is a class 501(c)(4) non-profit organization with over 90 chartered chapters throughout the United States and members abroad. While many members of Rolling Thunder® are veterans and many ride motorcycles, neither qualification is a prerequisite. Rolling Thunder® members are old and young, men and women, veterans and non-veterans. All are united in the cause to bring full accountability for Prisoners Of War (POW) and Missing In Action (MIA) of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public by our watchwords: “We Will Not Forget.”
The Rolling Thunder® Story
In the fall of 1987, Vietnam veterans met to discuss their personal concerns about the POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War. Having honorably served their country and having taken an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies…” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to same,” they were deeply troubled by the abhorrent neglect of attention given to those who did not make it out with their lives or their freedom. These veterans discussed the more than 10,000 reported sightings of live Americans living in dismal captivity. Intelligence reports of these sightings were generally ignored by the government and mainstream press.
The First Rolling Thunder® Demonstration
The Founders of Rolling Thunder® were ordinary men who understood that they had a right to have their voices heard and proceeded to lay down the plans for a gathering in Washington, D.C. during the 1988 Memorial Day weekend. They reached out to their families, fellow veterans and veteran’s advocates to unify and form a march and demonstration in the nation’s Capitol. Their arrival would be announced by the roar of their motorcycles, a sound not unlike the 1965 bombing campaign against North Vietnam dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder®. Hence, they would call themselves “Rolling Thunder®” a title that would endure time and be trademarked in 1990. Word spread quickly and by Memorial Day weekend in 1988, approximately 2,500 motorcycles from all over the country converged on Washington, D.C. to demand from our leaders a full accounting of all POW/MIAs. As the Founders of Rolling Thunder® made their stand that day in front of the Capitol, they reflected thankfully for the people who came in support of the POW/ MIAs and for the unity that was felt. This was Rolling Thunder®’s first demonstration. Only until ALL POW/MIAs ARE ACCOUNTED FOR, it will not be their last. On that day, the foundation was laid for the annual “Ride for Freedom” to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall (also referred to as the “Ride to the Wall”). The number of participants/spectators in the Memorial Day weekend Ride for Freedom has grown from 2,500 to an estimated 900,000.
VETERAN & COMMUNITY SERVICE
· In 2007, Rolling Thunder®® Charities, Inc. was established as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, non-profit organization which enables individuals and corporations to receive a tax deduction for funds donated to Rolling Thunder® Charities. These funds are used for veterans, active military and their families in need of help. No officers of Rolling Thunder® Charities, Inc. receive compensation; we all donate our time.
· Rolling Thunder® Charities, Inc. spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in financial aid, food, clothing and other essentials to veterans, homeless veterans and veterans’ families in need, women’s crisis centers and toys for children.
· In 2005, Rolling Thunder®, Inc. united with the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families to petition the U.S. Government to use the designation “Prisoner of War/Missing in Action” (POW/MIA) – a designation recognized by the Geneva Conventions – not “Missing/Captured”. This will ensure that prisoners’ rights and protections remain consistent under the Geneva Conventions.
· Expenditures exceed over half a million dollars a year, nationwide, to educate the public and increase awareness about the POW/MIA issue and other injustices suffered by veterans. The organization regularly donates POW/MIA flags to local area schools, youth groups, non-profit organizations, special interest groups and organizes flag raising ceremonies. Veterans speak to youth groups about the honor of serving their country and educating them about the POW/MIA issue.
· Rolling Thunder®, Inc. sponsors search missions into Southeast Asia for POW/MIAs and the remains of those killed in action.
· Thousands of hours are logged in by Rolling Thunder®, Inc. members at local VA hospitals nationwide. Members visit and provide moral support to nursing home veterans and patients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
· Rolling Thunder®, Inc. helped facilitate the publishing of a POW/MIA U.S. postage stamp through the U.S. Postal Service that displayed dog tags with the declaration – “POW & MIA – NEVER FORGOTTEN”
· Rolling Thunder®, Inc. National is on the Board of Directors of the Ride to the Wall Foundation, a veterans’ fund established through the sales of the musical CD, “Ride to the Wall” produced for Rolling Thunder® XIV by Paul Revere & the Raiders in cooperation with Rolling Thunder®, Inc.
· Rolling Thunder®, Inc. participated in the dedication of the World War II Memorial in 2004 and assisted with organizing the World War II parade that took place on that historic date.
Rolling Thunder®, Inc. has advocated and/or co-authored legislation to improve the POW/MIA issue, veterans’ benefits, concerns and interests as follows:
House Resolution 111
Since 2007 we continue to lobby Congress to establish a Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The Committee would conduct a full investigation of all unresolved matters relating to any United States POW/MIAs unaccounted for from the Iraqi War, Afghanistan, Gulf War, Vietnam War, the Korean War, Cold War and WWII.
Encourage the designation of “Hire a Veteran Week” (H.Con.Res. 125) (Bill Summary)
Rolling Thunder®, Inc. expressed support for the designation and goals of “Hire a Veteran Week” and encouraged the President to issue a proclamation supporting these goals. Passed the House under suspension of the rules by unanimous voice vote on July 24, 2006. On July 25, 2006 the bill was received by the Senate and the Senate concurred.
Respect for Fallen Heroes Act of 2006 (H.R. 5037) (Bill Summary) (PUBLIC LAW 109-228)
Legislation to prohibit certain demonstrations at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration at Arlington National Cemetery and for other purposes. On May 24, 2006 it passed the Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. The House agreed to suspend the rules and agreed to the Senate amendment by voice vote on that same day. On May 29, 2006 the bill was signed by the President.
Veterans’ Housing Opportunity & Benefits Improvement Act of 2006 (S.1235) (Bill Summary)
Legislation to amend title 38, United Stated Code, to provide adaptive housing assistance to disabled veterans residing temporarily in housing owned by the family member and to make direct housing loans to Native American veterans; make modifications to the Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment and Training within the Department of Labor; provide Life and Health Insurance coverage to certain veterans and their family members; and for other purposes.
Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006 (H.R. 1070) (Bill Summary) (S.3421-PUBLIC LAW 109-461)
Sec. 502 Department of Veterans Affairs goals for participation by small businesses owned and controlled by Veterans in procurement contracts. Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Members of the House should actively engage with employers and the American public, to encourage the hiring of members and former members of the Armed Forces who were wounded in service and facing transition to civilian life.
Veteran-Owned Small Business Promotion Act of 2005 (H.R. 3082) (Bill Summary)
Legislation to amend title 38, United States Code, to require that nine percent of procurement contracts entered into by the Department of Veterans Affairs be awarded to small business concerns owned by veterans, and for other purposes. Passed House on July 24, 2006 by unanimous voice.
Persian Gulf War POW/MIA Accountability Act of 2002 (S.1339)
First introduced by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado) in August 2, 2001, the legislation amends the Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000 which was signed into law in November of 2001. That law provides for the granting of refugee status in the United States to nationals of certain foreign countries in which American Vietnam POW/MIAs or American Korean War POW/MIAs may be present, if those nationals assist in returning POW/MIAs alive. The new law extends the granting of refugee status in the United States to nationals of Iraq or the greater Middle East region. It provides for the International Broadcasting Bureau, which includes the Voice of America, to broadcast information about the law in the Middle East. The necessity of this legislation is demonstrated by the case of Jessica Lynch and six other POWs returned alive. SSgt. Matt Maupin (Army) captured 4/9/04, remains found, identified and returned 3/30/08, as well as Pfc. Byron W. Fouty (Army) and Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez (Army), both captured 5/12/07 remains found, identified and returned 07/10/08.
The POW/MIA Memorial Flag Act of 2001 (S.1226)
This bill was signed into legislation by President George W. Bush in part due to Rolling Thunder®’s lobbying efforts. The main force behind this bill was Senator Campbell and Congressman Dan Burton. Rolling Thunder®, Inc. was highly instrumental in passing legislation to ensure that the POW/MIA flag will fly below the American Flag any day the American flag is flown in Washington, D.C. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean Memorial and the WWII Memorial.
Displaying of the POW/MIA Flag over Federal Buildings and Military Facilities
Rolling Thunder®, Inc. was highly instrumental in passing legislation requiring that Federal buildings, all Post Offices, the Vietnam and Korean Memorials in Washington, D.C. and military facilities fly the POW/MIA flag on all six National holidays.
Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000
Senator Campbell sponsored and co-authored with Rolling Thunder®, Inc. the Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000. The Act provides for the granting of refugee status in the United States to nationals of certain foreign countries in which American Vietnam War POW/MIAs or American Korean War POW/MIAs may be present, if those nationals assist in returning POW/MIAs alive.
Missing Service Personnel Act of 1997
Since the mid-1980’s, Rolling Thunder®, Inc. has worked tirelessly on this bill that would guarantee missing servicemen or women could not be arbitrarily “killed on paper” by the U.S. government without credible proof of death. The bill was originally sponsored by Senator Campbell in 1993. Rolling Thunder®’s efforts helped facilitate passing of a majority of the resolutions and efforts continue to restore the law as it was originally written.
Chapter Officers at http://rollingthunderri1.com/?page_id=175
President - Larry Brunell - email@example.com
Vice President – James McLaughlin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer – Kathy Brunell - email@example.com
Secretary – Cynthia Long - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairman of the Board – Jim Hayman - email@example.com
Board Member – Kyle McLaughlin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member – Terry Bader - Theresa.Bader@navy.mil
Board Member – Larry Cook - Gramp16@aol.com
Supporters and Sponsors are here: http://rollingthunderri1.com/?page_id=275
Medicinal Missions Project 22 at https://medicinalmissions.com/
In 2012, the VA estimated that 22 Veterans commit suicide everyday. Project 22 follows two combat Veterans on a motorcycle mission to raise awareness and discover solutions.
Formed in 2013 by two combat veterans, Medicinal Missions is a social enterprise focused on the holistic restoration of a healthy warrior culture. Our first production, Project 22 (USA, 2015) was designated non-profit via the fiscal sponsorship of From The Heart Productions (501(c)3). Upcoming releases include full-length interviews from the Project 22 journey and an all-new docu-series currently in pre-production.
To restore a Warrior Culture that supports holistic healing and life-long personal growth, while empowering Veterans to serve as Community Leaders and Mentors.
*To transform, expand and partner, continuing to provide therapeutic and empower resources to our Nation's Warriors.
*To combine cutting edge research with historical methods of therapy, ritual and healing in search of a Warrior's path befitting today's returning Veterans.
*To unitlize film and television as a platform to efficiently reach Veterans across our Nation and around the world.
Daniel J. Egbert
As Director for Medicinal Missions, Daniel brings to life socially relevant original content through his unique approach to documentary filmmaking.
Following the national success of, Project 22, he is currently researching and developing, WARPATH; a six-episode series spanning the globe.
After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marine Corps Infantry, Daniel attended Hunter College and The Los Angeles Film School. He graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Co-Owner, Creative Director
As Creative Director for Medicinal Missions, Doc creates and develops original content for film and television.
While co-directing Project 22, Doc found his passion for storytelling in the human aspect of filmmaking. He is currently researching and developing WARPATH, a six-episode, unscripted television series.
Doc served as a US Army Scout Medic. He is completing his BA in Psychology, minoring in Business.
Trailer Music: “I know you are, but what am I?” by Mogwai
After tragedy struck home last year, two combat-wounded veterans set out to end a little-known epidemic in America. Their 6,500-mile cross-country mission was to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide amongst Veterans and show their brothers and sisters-at-arms that there is hope for them. During their journey, they interviewed researchers, healthcare providers, and Veterans. Many of those they encountered had either contemplated or attempted suicide and were able to share the life-saving alternative sources of hope that they had found. Asking hard-hitting questions and opening up about their own struggles, and painfully spurred on by recent estimations that 22 veterans are taking their own lives every single day, Daniel and Doc will stop at nothing to reach tomorrows twenty-two.
Project 22 includes interviews with veterans who have found help and support for problems they faced after coming home through various therapies and programs. Some which they found effective in easing their pain are shown in the film and include: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Equine therapy, Military Therapy Dogs, Meditation, Veteran Sailing Groups, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and more.
MAKING OF PROJECT 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.
We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.
Doc flew back to Dallas with a small crew to film three interviews missed during the trip due to inclement weather. Medicinal Missions continued the awareness campaign, through events and social media, leading up to and following the release of the documentary. Project 22 screened by request more than one hundred times around the United States, before the television premier hosted by Southern Oregon Public Television and the subsequent international, online release on PBS.org.
Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Medicinal Missions is a production company and social enterprise co-owned by Daniel Egbert & Doc King. Their first production, Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SETTING UP A SCREENING
Project 22 is grateful to be sponsored by the incredible, Veteran-run SACRIFICE MFG - all proceeds from Project 22 merchandise have been generously donated to Project 22.
Please go here to donate to fund this organization’s mission: https://medicinalmissions.com/home-page/rally-in-the-valley-2016
Contact Information at https://medicinalmissions.com/contact-us
If you have questions about Medicinal Missions, any of our missions, or are interested in submitting ideas or alternative therapies for veterans with PTS or TBI, we would love to hear from you.
Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/medicinalmissions
July 14 – LOS ANGELES, CA
Operation Rock The Troops Concert at â€˜The Mintâ€™
July 15 – JOSHUA TREE, CA
Ride 160 miles – Marina Del Rey to Joshua Tree
Camping at Indian Cove Campground
July 16 – PHOENIX, AZ
Ride 270 miles – Joshua Tree to Phoenix
Operation Rock The Troops Concert at â€˜The Wasted Grainâ€™
July 17 – SAFFORD, AZ
Ride 170 miles – Phoenix to Safford
Camping at Roper Lake State Park
July 18 – EL PASO, TX
Ride 250 miles – Roper Lake State Park to El Paso
Project 22 Screening for US Army
July 19 – SAN ANGELO, TX
Ride 400 miles El Paso to San Angelo
Warrior Art Event
July 20 – DALLAS, TX
Ride 250 miles San Angelo to Dallas
Meet up with 22KILL/Operation Rock The Troops Concert
July 21 – HULBERT, OK
Ride 250 miles Dallas to Hulbert
Camping at Sequoyah State Park & Fort Gibson
July 22 – HULBERT, OK
DAY OFF – CAMPING
July 23 – KANSAS CITY, MO
Ride 250 miles Hulbert to KC
22Kill Event & Operation Rock The Troops Concert
July 24 – St Louis, MO
Ride 250 miles KC to Wildwood
Camping at Babler State Park
July 25 – NASHVILLE, TN
Ride 340 miles Wildwood to Nashville
Operation Rock The Troops Concert
July 26 – ASHEVILLE, NC
Ride 300 miles Nashville to Asheville
Camping near Asheville
July 27 – RALEIGH, NC
Ride 250 miles Asheville to Raleigh
Project 22 Screening
July 28 – CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
Ride 150 miles Raleigh to Camp Lejeune
July 29 – FREDERICK, MD
Ride 400 miles to a staging point near Frederick, MD
July 30 – FREDERICK, MD
Veterans’ Families United Foundation – Connecting Veterans and their Families to Compassionate Resources at http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/
Resources for Friends & Families of Veterans
This Is Our Story & Why We Do This
NEW! March, 2014 update (see below)
In January of 2003, my 19 year old Army Reserve son, announced to me that he volunteered for duty in Iraq and would be leaving in 24 hours. The war had not officially begun, but both 9/11 and Afghanistan were fresh on my heart and mind and so was the uncertainty of his safety and return home.
Joe left in January 2003 and was in the first wave of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). He deployed to Iraq in March 2003. It wasn’t until the following February that he returned home for his first leave, was sent back to Iraq and completed his duty in April 2004.
When he got off the plane, he looked as healthy as I had ever seen him. Strong, muscular and walking with confidence as people stopped to shake his hand and thank him for his duty to our country. It “appeared” that he had weathered the storm well. I was vigilant, but relieved to think that my son was not only home and alive, but that he did not bear any of the scars of battle that I had feared.
Currently, Joe is 100% disabled with what has been labeled PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and major depression. He lives at home, even though he would rather be on his own. He cannot currently work, even though he would give anything to be able to do so. He isolates in his room because of his disorder. He is frustrated because in his heart he wants to be a “normal”, but his mind and body fight against him so fiercely that he is disabled.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Oklahoma, my fate has been to have a full understanding of mental illness from a professional level and to live “up close and personal” with it as a mother of an OIF Veteran.
This website is designed specifically for family and friends of American Veterans. As I searched for anything I could to find guidance, hope and comfort, I began to realize that everything seemed impersonal, complicated or minimized the severity of the problem. So, this website is my hope and effort is to share information, support, and encouragement for those who watched their soldier leave to serve our country and return as a different person.
I am finding that despite the overwhelming sorrow of the loss of the son I once knew, that there is opportunity for great healing and change for him, our family and our country.
My prayer is that you too, will feel a sense of hope through the connections and information provided in this web site.
Our Story Update – May, 2009
The original story for this page was written in 2007. We want to let you know how Joe and our family are doing now. In the early Fall of 2008, Joe attended a private treatment facility for PTSD. He was gone for 30 days. He had to be escorted to the facility in Tucson, AZ. He had not been out of bed for over 3 years except for doctor appointments and rarely other times.
He called from Tucson at the end of his stay and said “he could fly home alone”. Since that time, he has worked very hard to maintain the momentum he gained in that safe and loving and healing environment at Sierra Tucson. He sees his counselor 2 times a week, makes himself leave the house daily, and has even spoken directly to other veterans/families to encourage them to seek help early if they notice problems. He gets massage therapy weekly, and has purchased a Wii program for yoga and other exercise. He has made great progress but still requires the daily support of our family for recovery. His next hope is to be able to function more in the “outside world.”
He is living testament that there is hope. He is also living testament that it takes “the courage of a warrior” to seek help AND to participate in the healing process. Our family continues to love and support every effort he makes, seeking ALSO to maintain health and balance ourselves as individuals and as a family.
Our Story – Update July, 2011
Joe has continued to progress in his psychological well-being, but the many years of anxiety, seclusion, etc. have begun to reveal PHYSICAL challenges that are often a by-products of PTSD and combat trauma. This is why GETTING HELP EARLY is so important. Our hope in sharing our story is that veterans get the help they need sooner and avoid some of the long term effects that can occur.
Upon returning home, Joe initially experienced extreme GERD, although he did not know what it was. In the summer of 2009 he had his Gall Bladder removed. In March of 2010, Joe’s teeth began rapid and extreme decay. Totally, he has had 27 cavities and 11 root canals since returning home. Most of his “once perfect” teeth are gone or severely decaying. We currently believe this is a result of untreated GERD and poor dental hygiene and nutrition during much of his illness.
Joe is also scheduled to have extensive GI work-ups as well as sleep studies, to address problems we also believe are due to the war related illness he has experienced over the past 8 years.
While he struggles to meet the ongoing challenges of “war brought home”, he perseveres with great resolve, rising to meet each one with hope for his ongoing recovery and with the knowledge that sharing his experiences may help others. Our family continues to support and love him in his “long journey home”.
BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN. From left, Iraq war veteran Joe Collins walks with his mom, Oklahoma Mother of the Year Cynde Collins-Clark, and stepfather, Jim Clark, outside their Edmond home
Our Story – Update November, 2012
It will be 10 years in January that Joe left for pre-mobilization and then to Iraq for a total of 15 months. The 19 year old that left has lived a life-time during this past decade. While there is much that has changed for Joe, one thing that has remained the same is his “heart of service”. In the midst of his suffering he has remained driven to “tell his story” so that others may get help sooner and also realize that they are not alone. He is steadfast in this mission of service; as are so many of our military members and veterans.
The most recent change is a reduction of medications, and this he says, has allowed him to “feel” once again. He has also said that he did not think he could have bared to “feel” the pain initially, but now he is ready. He expresses that a great part of his wound was a moral and spiritual injury and that “feeling” again has not only has helped him to release much of the pain, but also to find out that there is still beauty in the world. For this, he is thankful. For this, he wishes to encourage others to move forward because in the midst of, and through the sorrow, there is great Hope.
Our Story – Update March, 2014
One of the reasons that Joe continues to be an “inspiration”, is that despite his hopes and dreams that his life would be self-sufficient by now, it is not and yet he continues to “fight the good fight” and perservere.
Since the last update of 2012, all of Joe’s once-perfect natural teeth, have disintegrated and been replaced by the volunteer efforts of Oklahoma Dentists through D-Dent (a local non-profit). He is able to smile again. The process took 3 years of constant dental visits, root canals, and crowns, but it is complete thanks primarily to Dr. J. Don Harris and Shirley Harris (whose late son, Sgt Brandon Harris served in OIF in 03).
Joe has also been diagnosed with a Sleep Disorder. To quote Joe, “when you are in a combat zone it is hard to sleep. All you do is long to return home so that you can sleep. Then, when you come home, you don’t want to sleep because to sleep brings the nightmares”. 10 years of sleep deprivation has clinically impacted Joe’s sleep cycle and now he has a breathing machine, meant to regulate his sleep cycle. This has required extensive testing and doctor visits and while he is feeling refreshed in the morning, the nightmares have returned.
We have become accustomed to endless doctor visits (9 years now), but sometimes not prepared for some of the responses we receive. Joe relates it this way. “Families see the raw footage of the wounds of war 24/7/365. Medical professionals see a snapshot. Often we feel caught in the middle”.
Each experience teaches us something new about ourselves as individuals, as a family and as community. Some of the lessons are painful. Some, are full of such tender kindness that Hope is nurtured. We constantly search for ways to support Joe to the self-sufficiency that he longs for and has worked hard to accomplish. And as research is telling us, it is often a long and difficult journey both for the wounded warrior and their families who love them.
Our continued hope is that people will seek help early, continue to educate themselves about the “ripple effect” of the wounds of war, recognize that the systems that were developed to help veterans and families are overwhelmingly complex and do not meet the needs of all wounded, and that we are all in this together.
Most importantly, we hope that Americans acknowledge that less than 1% of our population has served since 9-11 and that there is a weariness that comes from so few, serving so many, and with so many needs that are unattended…this is an opportunity for us all to open our hearts to change.
Veterans’ Families United, an all volunteer organization providing Resources for Veterans and Their Loved Ones.
Veterans’ Families United (VFU) was founded by 2006 Oklahoma Mother of the Year, Cynde Collins-Clark. Cynde’s son Joe, returned from active duty in Iraq with undiagnosed but severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In her quest for resources, psychotherapist Collins-Clark discovered that she needed significant education to find what would best serve her son’s painful recovery process. In order to educate herself, she had to become proactive and self-advocating since the resources she needed were not readily available. Collins-Clark also learned that many, if not all families of returning Veterans were in the same boat.
Vital and even life-saving resources were difficult to find. Returning vets with PTSD were ill prepared and sometimes incapable of advocating for themselves. Collins-Clark compassionately began to assemble a network of healing, educational and empowerment based tools for veterans and their families. This compilation is an ongoing project. Collins-Clark would like to create a community of support and service for a population that has supported and served America. She is diligently developing VFU while simultaneously taking care of her son.
Links with service organizations, therapeutic avenues, pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatment possibilities, funding sources, volunteer staff and veterans and their families in need, are welcome.
About Us at http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/about/
How & Where To Get Help For Veterans and For You - http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/how-to-get-help/
Many people think that medical and other benefits are immediately accessible to Veterans. This is a myth. Currently, all medical and other benefits must be applied for by the Veteran. Many veterans are even under the impression that their benefits are “automatic”. They are not.
The reality is that ALL Veteran benefits require a separate and often lengthy application process. For the untrained person AND for the veteran, this can be a very confusing and frustrating challenge.
No matter how difficult the VA system is to navigate, there is NO other option. Veterans have earned these benefits. If the veteran is too ill to advocate for him/herself, then you can contact the American Legion, VFW, AmVets, Red Cross, or Disabled American Veterans (see Benefits & Benefits Assistance). Also, there are Social Workers at the VA hospitals that may help you find a VA Benefits Contact.
Do not give up and do not be intimidated by the process. Do not let anyone minimize your challenge or your frustration. Do what you need to do to get the veteran the benefits they need and see “How to Intervene to Help your Veteran“.
To find out specific types of help available, you may click on the below on this page.
Coaching Into Care – 1-888-823-7458 (M-F 8-8pm EST)
Specific Detailed Resource Links:
Benefits & Benefits Assistance
How & Where To Get Help
Many new and/or lesser-known wellness and/or healing options are available for Veterans and their families who face the “invisible wounds of war” like PTSD and TBI, depression and anxiety.
Common methods for dealing with post combat related issues are the traditional “talk therapy” which can include individual and group counseling. In addition, sometimes medications are prescribed. While these are the most commonly used techniques, new healing options are emerging daily that are proving very beneficial. Some are covered by insurance, like TriCare or Blue Cross Blue Shield.
We hope that this list helps visitors to our site understand that there are many wonderful options available. We encourage you to ALWAYS visit with your care team (doctor, counselor, etc.) about considering techniques that may be of interest to you.
Note: VFU provides this comprehensive view of healing techniques for your convenience, but does not endorse nor recommend any specific technique. VFU does not guarantee results or outcomes from any of the materials listed on this website.
Get Connected With Others
· The “Connect With Others” link is provided for you to find specific services that are offered within each state so that readers may become aware of support systems “closer to home”.
· Just “click on” the name of your State here http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/connect-with-others/ to find services available.
· If you are aware of services and/or your state does not appear on this link, please feel free to “contact us” and inform us so that we can add it to our site.
· Another way to connect is through a new website developed by GOOGLE called “Google for Veterans” which is specifically developed for veterans and families. For a unique way to maintain documents, create albums and connect with others go to http://www.googleforveterans.com/
Contact us at : http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/contact/
We appreciate all your comments, questions, stories, and suggestions. You may contact us below or by clicking a specified link in the left menu.
Your inquiries to us will not be disclosed by us unless you request or specify it. VFU does not have financial resources available.
Private and Organizational Donations
Donate To This Foundation at http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/donate/
VFU is a All-volunteer organization. Financial resources are needed and used to support our initiatives in assisting Veterans and their Families to become empowered in the healing process. Currently, we have 4 opportunities for donations:
1) One-time small transportation voucher for emergency veteran/family needs of $25.00 and bus passes for the Veterans’ Diversion Program of OK County. 100% of Memorial/Tribute funds are used for this project. See “Memorial Donation Instructions” below.
2) Weekend healing retreats for family care-givers of severely wounded warriors.
3) Operating costs like domain/web fees, supplies, postage, printing of materials, etc.
4) A long-term private healing facility for veterans The REST House Proposal
Our Board of Directors and their qualifications are also listed.
Additionally, Veterans’ Families United Foundation has been approved for 501.c.3 status as a non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Our federal tax ID is #20-8877536.
If you would like to donate on behalf of a veteran/loved one, you may make the donation on Pay Pal by clicking on the Pay Pal button on this page, or you may mail your donation to our P.O. Box also listed on this link. Then please send us a message regarding your memorial tribute, telling us the name of the memorialized and any special information you would like to be added by clicking here. Our web site is updated quarterly, although we attempt to update memorials monthly.
Memorial Donation Instructions
To make a donation in the name of a veteran, please follow below:
1) Make a donation on Pay Pal or send a check to our PO Box (both are in the left margin)
2) Go to the VFU Contact form by Clicking Here and send us the Name, Branch of Service, and Memorial/Tribute words that you would like added to our “Memorial/Tribute” Page.
3) You will receive confirmation of the receipt of your donation, which are 100% tax deductible, and the name of the veteran you honor will be listed on our Memorial Tribute page within a week of the donation.
Employer Matching Donations
Many companies have programs that permit employees to donate to charities of their choice, and for the company to match the employees’ contribution. Please check with your employer to see if there is a matching gift program for employees. Normally, employees provide proof to their employer of their contribution, and the company contacts Veterans’ Families United Foundation, requesting that we complete a matching gift form they provide.
Dedicated to Joe, Cody, Anthony, Bill and Jack, and the countless other veterans who have sacrificed so much and to their families that love them.
Disclaimer: Veterans' Families United Foundation does not guarantee results or outcome of the information provided in any of its materials.
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