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Veterans Day

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Celebrating our Veterans and Wellness works

Over the years I have interviewed and profiled a number of amazing organizations that serve our troops and veterans, Hugs for Heroes, Operation Gratitude, Veterans Career Exchange, and the list goes on. All fantastic organizations that have served our men and women abroad or helped returning Veterans get jobs once they were out of the military. However in all my interviews, I have yet to meet an organization that’s main focus is  to restore hope and a sense of wholeness of body and soul turning their post traumatic stress into post traumatic growth, until now. The place is Wellness Works, a home for healing  and hope.

Last week, I sat down with the Co-Founder, Mary Lu Coughlin, of the non-profit Wellness Works to learn more about the journey our Veterans go through and the story of this amazing non-profit that continues healing our Veterans. Today we celebrate Veterans Day and all those who gave so bravely for our freedom. It is the perfect time to share about the remarkable work that is being done to support the Veteran community and their families. This video (that sadly isn’t embedding but you can old school click the link) gives you a deeper dive into Wellness Works impact on Veterans.

 

Charity Matters: What was the moment you knew you needed to start Wellness Works?

Mary Lu Coughlin: Beginning in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, my Co-Founder Nancy was teaching wellness education workshops and holistic healing therapies to nurses mainly to help healing with the large AIDS/HIV population at the time. Our goal was always to he a source of healing and service to the community.  As medications became available for AIDS patients our client focus began to shift, September 11th happened, the war began and then in 2005  when we read Dr. Ed Tick’s book War and The Soul about healing Veterans from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD. We knew that we had a healing skills that could help our Veterans and their families.

Soldiers began coming home in 2006 and we knew our healing community needed to support and love these Veterans and give them a place that felt like home. 

Charity Matters: What fuels you to keep doing this work in serving our Veterans?

Mary Lu Coughlin: Twenty-two veterans a day take their own lives. I know that when we (Wellness Works) have a tangible felt experience and love can come thru us to our Veterans that we are an instrument of healing.

Charity Matters: When do you know that you have made a difference?

Mary Lu Coughlin: When veterans come through our door they feel welcome, they feel at home, they know their invisible wounds are seen and they are not judged. When I over hear one veteran telling another,” I am finally home thanks to Wellness Works.” 

Another veteran, who now serves on our board, said on his second visit to Wellness Works that, “his life’s purpose had been restored. He now had a community with which he could once again strive to serve the greater good.”

Charity Matters:What do want people to think about this Veteran’s Day?

Mary Lou Coughlin: This Veterans Day gives us as a caring community and society, the opportunity to acknowledge the service of the many men and women who have served us so well.

Charity Matters.

 

 

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Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

American Women Veterans

americanwomensveterans-org

Today is Veterans Day and the day that we celebrate all of those amazing men and women who have served our country. Last week I had the privilege of speaking with one incredible veteran and her name is Genevieve Chase. At only 38, she has served two tours in Afghanistan, is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge, and is the Founder of AmericanWomensVeterans.org

Genevieve had trained for two years as a counter intelligence agent and was in Afghanistan for only two months, in April 2006, when a car bomb detonated and changed her life forever. She and her team survived but suffered varying degrees of traumatic brain injuries. She told me, “Angels watched over us and I knew I survived that bomb for a reason.” 

At the end of 2007, Genevieve came home, depressed, unsure about her purpose and began volunteering for another military non-profit. She began to realize that women veterans where not being heard, served or listened too. More importantly she discovered that there are 2.2 million women veterans in the United States.

In December 2008, Genevieve and her sister (shown above) put a call out on Facebook to any women Veteran’s in New York City to come join them for breakfast and thirteen women did. As she listened to stories about their shame to be a veteran, the way they were treated or ignored she knew something had to be done and that was the beginning of AmericanWomenVeterans.org

eve-chase

Today, almost eight years later the American Womens Veterans has become a change agent for women veterans. Genevieve has testified before U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and Veteran Affairs Committee to bring change and attention to these incredible women who have served. The American Womens Veterans is proud that they have helped to bring women’s health care to every VA facility in the country, helped acknowledge women veterans who were not allowed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery and continue to shine a light on the remarkable role that women veterans have played and continue too, as they serve our country.

As we honor all of our veterans today, we need to remember that not every GI is a Joe.”

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Real service, Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today, we celebrate Veterans Day. We honor, remember and salute all of those who have shown us what real service is. I talk about service every week and don’t get me wrong, volunteering is important, but to serve, to give your life, your time and complete commitment to ensuring your country’s freedom…well that is service at an entirely different level.

So today, we salute you, our veterans….thank you for showing us all what real service is.

God bless America and all our servicemen and women.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Veterans continue service:Team Rubicon

Team RubiconVeterans Day was monday,we hung our flags, enjoyed our holiday and remembered those who served. For most Veterans service never ends and the call to serve is all they know. This week that call to serve is in the Philippines. That is exactly where the veterans who make up the nonprofit, Team Rubicon will be heading on their next mission.

The mission is exactly where Team Rubicon began. Two Marines who met in sniper school, Jacob Wood and Clay Hunt returned from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other Veterans who were no longer sure of their purpose. That all changed when an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. Jacob Wood, Clay Hunt and a host of other Veterans decided to deploy to heal others in need and in the process began to heal themselves. That was the beginning of Team Rubicon.

On the streets of Haiti these Veterans realized they were onto something, and that was  that “natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources, horrific sights, sounds and smells.  The same skills cultivated on those same battlefields – emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork and decisive leadership – are invaluable in disaster zones.” Who can rally better than our troops?

Since January 2010 Team Rubicon has rallied its team of veterans to Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, and here at home, in Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, and Alabama. On monday, this past Veterans Day, those who have served us boarded planes to the Philippines…..where they will continue to do what they do, serve.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

 

Hugs project

Marines_-_Will_Work_For_HugsWith Veterans Day approaching on monday, I thought it was a good time to look at the amazing work people do in this country to support our military. In my quest, I came across over 8,000 non-profits that support our troops but this one stood out because of one remarkable lady and a hug.

Her name is Karen Stark and she is the founder of  The Hugs Project. In 2004, Karen and her husband Ray, wanted to make sure that every American service member knew they were loved and appreciated for all they do. The couple first wrote to one soldier who was suffering from depression, he then asked them if they could write to another young soldier. Before they knew it they were sending care packages and writing to many troops overseas. Then the Starks had heard that many soldiers were suffering from severe heat exhaustion, so they began making “hugs” which are bandannas filled with crystals that can soak up two cups of water. The soldiers wear these around their neck to keep cool and the ties are affectionately called “hugs.”

 

Karen said ,”We never intended to send anything more than ” we respect what you are doing” emails but the need was there.”  Those emails and cooling ties turned into care packages and now almost a decade later The Hug Project is still going strong. To date the organization is in 50 states and 17 countries around the world, and has sent tens of thousands of care packages and hugs to our troops. Karen and her husband are making the world better, one hug at a time.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Veterans Day

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who gave us the freedom to demonstrate

It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag.

And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

Today is the day that we observe Veterans Day and this year it could not come at a better time. Our country is divided from this past election between Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, black and white…..but none of these matter. What matters is that we are all Americans before we are anything else.

Today, lets take a moment to honor all of those men and women who have sacrificed to give us this great nation. They are more than mere names on a wall, they were fathers, sons and most of all American heroes we proudly call veterans. God Bless you all!

 Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.