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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Operation Healing Forces Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: The mission of Operation Healing Forces (OHF) is to serve the needs of our active-duty and recent-veteran wounded, ill, and injured Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their families by starting or continuing the process of mentally, physically and emotionally healing in preparation to return to the fight or transition successfully into civilian life.

Results: Operation Healing Forces continues to offer retreats to Special Operations couples (we will hit 800 alumni in 2020) and we have expanded our programs to include our immediate needs program to provide crisis support to families, financial planning program to assist families with short and long term financial goals, our alumni and ambassador programs to continue to remain on top of the needs of our alumni and their families.

Target demographics: Special Operations Service Members and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 800 Special Operations families

Geographic areas served: in the Special Operations community

Programs: Through therapeutic retreats, our purpose is to enable these war-torn men and women to break through the silence to openly discuss their battlefield and personal hardships. A safe, protected environment allows our participants to let their guard down and share. Realizing they are not alone, participants discover it is appropriate — and not a stigma — to seek help, support, and guidance when needed from fellow SOF professionals and their families. The retreat environment combined with peer-to-peer counseling and recreational therapies enable sincere bonding between couples, with other spouses going through similar hardships, and among fellow SOF service members. ​ Additionally, OHF will seek to help and support the special operations community through a Special Operations Additional Resources Program. - OHF will work directly with USSOCOM’s Care Coalition to institute an immediate needs program for wounded, ill, and injured SOF and/or to alleviate financial hardship. - Will institute an Ambassador’s program to facilitate OHF alumni raising awareness about OHF and networking in the SOF community to increase our SOF database. - Will increase our social media presence to maintain and strengthen ties with our alumni, SOF community, and visibility to potential and current donors. - Will coordinate and facilitate SOF candidates looking for employment in the insurance business with the Markel Veterans Program. - Will re-enforce, strengthen, and build the OHF Alumni program to maintain ties, monitor, and as needed assist OHF past participant SOF families.

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I attended a retreat organized by OHF. The full scope of what this organization accomplishes cannot be documented it is so vast. Not only are they saving families but saving our best military might from what for so many is crushing pressure, trauma and stress. The appreciation and recognition alone would be going above and beyond to extend where it is so often absent but they go a step further and include recognition of the sacrifice the spouses make also. The time and experiences that create bonds with other special operations families are truly a life line. Everything was so well done to accommodate disabilities, and different personalities all while remaining so respectful and safe. You would think creating an exciting yet cathartic environment for these families would be nearly impossible but the thought, care and attention to detail from this organization is impeccable! I am eternally grateful to OHF for honoring and aiding in healing my family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

OHF is amazing and truly awesome for the expedient help they provide when it's needed in real time, with no red tape or delays.

Their staff asks the pertinent questions to expedite and front load everything so the burden on the receiver and/or caregiver is negligible. They really do a great job making sure the process is streamlined so you get the care you need asap without any delay (can't stress this enough).

They respond almost immediately to messages or calls and never disappear on you or ghost you/leave you hanging.

You know you can count on them from the start and they won't leave your side until you get the care you need. This organization is truly a blessing and I couldn't be more grateful and humbled. Great work everyone and thank you!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Healing Forces does amazing work and I could not be more blessed to get to know Billy DeLong and the rest of the guys on my retreat. 100% would recommend to other SOF veterans and active duty members to experience the retreat opportunities. From the very beginning OHF brought first class service and support: from the constant communication prior to the trip, the introduction to the hosts, and throughout the entirety of the retreat. I want to thank OHF for giving me the opportunity to spend time and connect on a deeper level with my spouse. Not only that, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet and create some lifelong friendships with some other fellow operators. Thank you to our wonderful hosts Paul and Melissa, thank you to the best organizer, coordinator, and program director Billy, and thank you OHF. This truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is a God send!! They have helped my family and my marriage in more ways than words can express! We love OHF and they are phenomenal!! ❤️

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an Active Duty Soldier, my wife and I would have never been able to afford an
all-inclusive couples retreat like the one Operation Healing Force provided for us. It was also not an experience that we usually would have chosen for ourselves. We typically love hot weather, the sand, and the surf, and this trip allowed us to break out of our standard shell. We loved the crisp, clean air and the opportunity to ride horses through the mountains of Idaho.

In addition to the fantastic rides, my wife and I participated in some great activities
that the ranch provided. We went kayaking, shot traps, rode a zipline, and I even got to
experience my wife shooting both compound and recurve bows for the first time. We were able to relax, have fun and enjoy the ride. It brought us closer together and allowed us to fall in love all over again.

The staff at the ranch made us feel like part of the ranch family and went out of
their way to ensure that we had a fantastic time. All along the way, we got to share this
experience with three other amazing couples from the SOF community. It is something that I am sure that none of us will ever forget.

While sharing these adventures with the other service members, spouses, and
retreat leader, we had many opportunities to discuss the obstacles and scars that we as
service members and our families endure as part of our service. These conversations
provided outside perspective and affirmed that we are not alone in our struggles. It also
provided an outlet to continue the process of healing.

This is an amazing organization and deserves to be recognized for the work for the Special Operations community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I participated in a couples retreat in Marco Island, FL through Operation Healing Force (OHF) and I participated in a wives retreat in SC. My husband has served 26 years in the Army, and most of it within the SOF community.

This foundation is truly committed to the saving families and marriages. So many foundations say they support the military, but you don't really know anyone who has benefited, or know what they actually do. I can assure you that we know quite a few SOF couples in our community who have been on the retreat and said it was life giving to their marriage. The retreat saved one of our good friend's marriage from an imminent divorce. They literally had divorce papers in hand, and decided to give it one last shot and went on the retreat and were able to rediscover how much they loved one another. A one week retreat through OHF has done more for our marriage and well-being than any counseling has done.

The retreat leads treated us like we were family, and made sure that every aspect of our retreat was organized and taken care of . We felt like we were VIP and pampered. This is not something we are used to as parents to 4 children where everyone else's needs come before our own needs. During the retreat, we got to take a break from reality, not worry about anything, and just be able to bond with our spouse. We didn't have to worry about how we were going to afford our meals, flights, accommodations. All that was taken care of by the OHF retreat leads. The retreat lead we had were Billy DeLong for our couples retreat and Steph DeZern for my wives retreat. Both retreat leads were from the SOF community, were a class act, and went out of their way to accommodate anything we needed to ensure we had a relaxing and carefree trip. I just kept thinking, "is this for real?" "Someone I don't know is donating their beautiful house to us and the other couples? Someone is willing to buy our meals and plan our activities for the day? " The entire time, we just felt doted on and loved by OHF.

I am beyond grateful to have been selected to attend both retreats. Thank you times a million to the OHF staff, the OHF founders (Gary and Tony Markel) for creating this foundation for Special Ops service members and their families. You are truly a blessing to so many families in the SOF community.

1 Michael H.17

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot express my gratitude enough for what OHF has done for me and my family. Our retreat was the first time in 22 years me and my wife had taken a long trip alone without the kids. It allowed us to reconnect and strengthen our relationship as a couple. It was a truly amazing week in a beautiful home in the Bahamas. We will always be grateful for this opportunity. OHF has helped us in so many ways since our trip, from immediate needs support to transition assistance for my unit. Thank you for everything you do for our Soldiers and their families. OHF will always hold a special place in our hearts.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

All expenses paid vacation for my wife and I. Much needed time to relax and reconnect.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing organization. They go above and beyond. Has helped my family. Thank you so much.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is one of the best out there. This special operations community has been through so much these last two decades. It's organizations like this one that recognize the sacrifices that have been made and are there at the end of the day to lend a helping hand or to offer some reprieve. Thank you from a SOF spouse who is truly grateful for all you have done for our family!

1 Sean A.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Top notch organization that takes care of our SOF community. Their program allowed my wife and I some quality time with zero worries. Thank you OHF!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had surgery a few months ago and recovery had been slow and painful. To make matters worse I got a 2nd degree strain in a hamstring as well. My Doc gave me a script for a medical device that the VA was not able to get for me. I spoke with my advocate and he reached out to Operation Healing Forces and they purchased the device for me in a matter of days. Thank you so much OHF for your support. This organization is a game changer.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Completely life changing experience. It taught me how to make my wife a priority in my life and taught my wife that there are other spouses going through the same challenges we are.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Healing Forces is an extraordinary organization looking to strengthen marriages within the SOF Community. OHF certainly did that with my marriage. Furthermore, OHF also gave me a new perspective in life. There are 22 soldiers a day that commit suicide, because of OHF there's one less now. Thank you so much to the organization and everyone that makes this OHF possible.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

OHF provided an amazing opportunity for us to reconnect and strengthen our relationship during our couples retreat. In addition, we met several amazing couples that have had similar experiences and helped us to connect on a deeper level of understanding one another.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I wouldn’t be alive today without OHF. Their volunteers and staff were truly a godsend to my life.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My wife and I have participated in two events with Operation Healing Forces. We were nothing but amazed by the quality, professionalism and treatment we received.

First event was a retreat in Austin, TX with Delio Cervera. My wife and I had an amazing time. Delio was there to help us have a memorable time and I was impressed with the amount of work he put in. My wife still talks about the how much fun she had, and how relaxing it was.

Second event my wife and I participated in was the Dominion Energy Charity Classic PRO-AM golf tournament. Stephanie DeZern was another consummate professional who helped us have the best experience possible. It was amazing to play golf with a SR PGA pro and other veterans. The overall experience was awesome, and we are grateful we were able to attend.

Operation Healing Forces is an excellent non-profit, staffed with excellent folks.

First Picture is My wife and I meeting Chase Rice prior to his concert after the PRO-AM.

Second Picture is Myself and Delio Cervera at a dinner in Austin.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The OHF team is extremely helpful and accommodating when it comes to learning about their organization, what they do and who they serve. They take the time to ensure your questions are answered and that you have an amazing experience with their organization events.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Just awesome met so many great vets and it helped in so many ways

2 Kalyn P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Healing Forces does exceptional things for not only active duty/veteran operators but for their spouses as well. Everyone who is apart of this organization is absolutely incredible and works extremely hard for what they believe in. Not only have they helped my family get through hard times, but have sent my husband and I on a retreat to rekindle our bond and have time together away from daily stressors. I am so thankful for what donors/sponsors do to keep this going and we will forever be greatful and so happy to be apart of this. Thank you OHF!

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We will forever be greatful for the immediate assistance OHF/donors assisted us with! They really came through getting everything together just as we lost all hope for the unfortunate financial hardship that we were facing and still just getting through. They all really made sure we were going to be okay and make it through. OHF has really been a blessing to our family with providing financial stability during the most difficult months. Thank you OHF!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Life changing for the SOF community. Thankful for OHF in so many ways.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This non profit is amazing and it starts from the top. It was founded by two brothers that are patriots and would do anything to support Special Operations. They allow SOF couples to bond, heal, and connect in a way that creates life changing experiences. The lasting effect from these experiences aren’t temporary, but stand the test of time. Relationships and lives are saved for our country’s most valuable resource; our heroes that make America safe.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't thank OHF's enough for their immediate support and the donors that help make this non-profit organization a thing. I was in the hospital for almost a month with my wife by my bedside. She used all her leave and was no longer receiving pay. OHF helped us in a mortgage payment through the financial burden and we couldn't have been more thankful. Thank you to all of those that continue to support the Special Operations community.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Healing Forces helped me realize that I had never, in 24 years, made my wife a priority. The way the event was set up my only responsibility was to spend time with my wife and have fun. It was the best thing to ever happen to me.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have the pleasure of working with Jim and Operation Healing Forces on a consistent basis and am constantly in awe of the work they do to help active-duty and veteran Special Operations Forces (SOF) heal mentally, physically and emotionally. The level of care and commitment Operation Healing Forces provides to its mission is truly inspiring. They serve those who have bravely and heroically served our country and you cannot ask for anything greater from a non-profit.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working in a volunteer capacity with this nonprofit since 2018. The people who represent this organization are top-notch, hardworking and dedicated to the cause. The work done by OHF is critically important to our special ops forces who are constantly in harm's way on behalf of all of us. I truly believe in the work they do, and highly recommend donating to the organization on any level.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Getting to attend an OHF retreat in 2015, has still impacted our lives to this day. Grateful is an understatement. Operation Healing Forces is a life changing nonprofit!!

2 Michael301

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great group for SOF retreats. No B.S., just new friendships and reconnected old ones. Help them when ever we can