FALLEN WARRIORS FOUNDATION
March 30, 2010
A few years ago I was invited to attend a Fallen Warriors Veterans' retreat by my friend, Colleen, who with her husband, Jack, conceived and organized the retreat every year on or close to Veterans' Day. I had heard over the years about the struggle of the advertising, mailings, contacts, finding a venue with lodging and kitchen, finding cooks to prepare healthy and satisfying food for the group over several days, hosting the retreat leader and his companion and assistant (which they both looked forward to), and generally making sure that attendees had a seamless and meaningful experience. They made sure no one who wanted to attend was denied for lack of funds, and would seek a benefactor or personally pay expenses if necessary. Their commitment to their vision of teaching life and coping skills, stress reduction and positive means of living with fear, guilt and pain induced by war is genuine and tireless.
They could not have found a more skilled, insightful and appropriate teacher to lead the retreats. He is a Viet Nam vet who has become a Buddhist Monk. He shares the devastating effects of war but is well trained to teach the skills of living a meaningful life by accepting rather than repressing, rejecting or being shamed by painful war experiences through different forms of meditation, writing and sharing in an environment of silence and contemplation. He is articulate, sharp and compassionate, earning the respect and love of diverse groups no matter how extreme or complex the presented struggles of a particular group may be.
Although I felt at first a little out of place, not being personally involved with the Viet Nam war, I soon learned that as a daughter of a WWII vet, PTSD had been a huge part of my growing up. As I learned the symptoms of the condition, I realized that my family had been living with them from day one. Many of my fathers behaviors, which I had so negatively judged, were most likely the effects of his combat experience for which we had no emotional context. That generation could not express pain or accept help, and most never knew their anxieties, restlessness and destructive behaviors were not just "who they were". I watched my father regularly explode, avoid intimacy and search for connection in all the wrong places. My association with Jack and Colleen, then Fallen Warriors, taught me that I could love my father without shame. That is a life changing event for which I will forever by thankful.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
New perspective on dysfunctions in my family
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
peaceful feeling that can come from loving acceptance of difficult experiences
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
sincere, energetic, dedicated and caring
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
improve the quality of life for many many more struggling people
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About once a year
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
General Member of the Public & I have attended a retreat and have sponsored a vet.