I participated in an emotional health retreat conducted by Vet's Journey Home (VJH) in 1995. The program helped me recognize and give voice to the trauma I suffered as a product of my military service in Vietnam. For the 22 years prior to attending this intensive yet nurturing 2.5-day immersive process I struggled through life as a high-functioning academic by day - and a volatile and vulnerable mess at night. Suffice to say, and without hyperbole, the VJH retreat was transformative. It literally saved and changed my life. Since then I have not suffered the chronic nightmares that I tried to manage with intense exercise, obsessive work, and self-medication. I have continued my healing journey by developing a novel therapy for the symptoms of brain trauma, and by staffing these retreats to help the next veteran that is suffering and needs a guide to help them begin recovery and reclaim their lives after their service. VJH made this possible for me.
This program changed my life by giving me the support and skills to manage my return to civilian life after from combat trauma. The lasting impact has affected all the people around me in a positive way, and now I volunteer so that I give back some of the life-affirming gifts I received. This organization is 100% staffed by volunteers, both vet's and civilians, that truly understand trauma, and create a safe place to begin the journey home.
I spent a weekend working with Vets Journey Home at the urging of one of my employees, a veteran herself who also volunteers with them.
In a nutshell, they do great and difficult work in helping vets come to terms with their service. I am proud to support them in their efforts helping our vets heal.
I was lucky enough to participate in the AMAZING program that VJH has created for bring Veterans out of the shadows of past traumas to a new existence with personal validation and more hope for their future.
This group works miracles! Recommended for any prior military with personal conflicts from any source.
My daughter is an Army Veteran. She served in Afghanistan as a young woman and later went to Iraq. VJH has helped her in ways I never could. Indeed, as parents, partners, friends, family never could...we can’t help the way our Vets need to be helped. VJH can. And indeed HAS. This organization, unlike so many others, is the real deal. My daughter now dedicates a great deal of her time helping other Vets with VJH.
I am incredibly grateful, humbled and proud of such an amazing organization that can help so genuinely those who have served our country so completely. Thank you, VJH, with all my heart ♥️.
I am a Marine Corps Veteran. I’ve had PTSD/Depression for many years. I was blessed with the opportunity to come to a retreat for veterans last year. I learned how important it is to care for myself.
Our good friend came back from multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. She had a number of very heavy issues that were weighing on her as she tried to re-assimilate into civilian life.
Vets Journey Home provided an extremely effective group setting in which she and other like her could talk about and hopefully process their issues. I would strongly recommend them to any other vets working through the transition.
As a veteran, Vets Journey Home helped me process the transition from war time to peace time. It was instrumental in my ability to find peace. I continue to staff weekends to this day as a way to give back and continue my own healing path.
One of the best Veteran deep trauma recovery groups in existence. Every thing they offer is completely free to veterans. I found healing through them and often refer veterans to them
After 40 years I was finally able to honor the time I spent in the USAF. The damage the war did to the troops and the civilians was horrendous. Vets Journey Home, Wi. provided the opportunity to integrate my military experience. They also provided an opportunity to pay it forward by my being a volunteer for additional weekends. Thanks Wisconsin.
On a Vets Journey Home, any military trauma can be welcomed, witnessed and released by a competent staff, primarily volunteers, who support, encourage and witness a participants experience. The trauma need not be only combat experience, any military trauma can have negative effects and can be released.
I have staffed these weekend trainings for Vets who never felt they had been welcomed home. I can attest to the power and the joy that the experience releases. I have seen Vets open doors to their hearts that had been locked since their service. I remember a Vet who spoke of his bomb sniffing dog. He had worked with this dog for a year in Vietnam. The dog had saved his and others lives. He tried to get the dog released and bring home with him. It wasn't possible. A few month's after he left the service, he learned that the dog had perished in an explosion. The experience had torn him up for years. The VJH home experience allowed him for the first time to touch that pain and begin the process of healing.
Great experience. I’ve received more positive therapy and improvement in one weekend with VJH than years at the VA. We learned about deprograming and Our illness, not just medication. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, professional and epithemic. You spend the weekend with fellow Brothers and Sisters understanding you’re not alone in your pain or illness. More Veterans should be aware of this program. I highly recommend VJH
Greetings to all,I first went to vets journeyhome i was a participant in there after I staff may be about five times it’s been a wild couple years but it helped me gain another inch walked in down and walked out with my head high.
I have never met a group of such devoted volunteers who truly 'walk the talk" and do so quietly and without great fanfare. The program I attended affected me deeply and continues to help me, almost a year later. Unlike any other similar program, the volunteers are still there to reach out to.
This program far exceeded any expectations I might have had. The program is literally life changing. Stuck for years, I was thinking this was just how it was going to have to be--- no way out, no way around it. Suck it up. Live with. Why can't you just yourself?? Then I participated in a weekend program.... everything has changed. I mean everything.
Veterans of any gender, combat or peacetime, are welcome. What organization lives by that?
The retreats offered by VJH offer unparalleled opportunities for veterans to work on service related issues and, unfortunately, service related trauma. VJH does a great job at a low cost.
If you are looking for a grass-roots charity to support--look no further. VJH does a great job helping vets and family members feel honored for serving and for sacrifices associated with military service. I have staffed retreats on two occasions now. The attendees have been both male and female vets, and some have served in combat zones, some have not. The "work" that takes place is based on processes designed to help vets deal with problematic life issues--service related or not. The aim here is to be of help as these service men and women navigate life's challenges. Vets attend for free. We welcome your support. In addition to staffing, i have also made financial donations.
I had the honor of staffing a weekend with Vets Journey Home. The transformation that the workshop leaders facilitated for the vets was incredible. In my judgment, the experience probably benefited those vets more than 10+ years in therapy. The leaders and staff, all of whom volunteee their time, are the most positive and giving human beings I had the pleasure of meeting. The vets were able to process deep traumas from their service, in a safe and supportive environment. This organization truly helps to bring our wounded soldiers home, by hearing and validating their experiences at war. What an honorable mission - to serve those who served us and help them reintegrate to society. I left the weekend with my heart full, knowing I’ll be back to volunteer my time again.
I’ve dealt with my issues for over 37 years. I’ve been to the VA 5 times and was helped quite a bit. However, unknown to me, I was still carrying baggage from my military experiences that was affecting my confidence and ability to enjoy life. I was invited to a Vtes Journey Home weekend and attended. Due to the caring nature of staff and the environment we were in, I was able to release so much that was bogging me down over the years that I came away with so much relief I still feel better. It never goes away, but I know I hold my head higher and have renewed confidence in areas where previously I was doubting myself.
The military is the only organization I know of where a good successful mission still means good guys die. The military trains you to accept that. But when you go through a tough time, you’re still human and have to deal with tough consequences. We’re not called GI (government issue) for nothing. Vets need an organization like Vets Journey Home so they can release they’re inner demons and still be loved and accepted by fellow vets and civilians who care and bridge the gap to leading a fairly normal civilian life.
I thank God for my healing through Vets Journey Home. I’ve become a better person not bogged down by the demons of tough military experiences.
I attended Vets Journey Home as another step in my healing. I am so glad I did this. The work was hard and very emotional but it helped me continue on my path to wellness and was a necessary part. The staff are super supportive and the work is group setting with individual stories and work to challenge and overcome the obstacles that have kept me in a dark space for so very long. I was lost and VJH helped me find my way home through healing.
I was able to release 36 years of built up shame and guilt for my life experiences in Vietnam. I was in conflict with religious beliefs at the age of 23, and what I committed to do for the service of my country. Two facilitators and a peer group and I let go of my past and how I felt.
I was invited to a VJH weekend by a Friend who had also attended. I was dealing with grief and anger from the loss of my son several years earlier. I had tried different sources for grief support and therapy but I was still angry and hurting. Upon arriving that weekend, there was only one other male participant who was to be my room-mate. When I turned to greet him, it was if the years slipped away. He was a shipmate that served with me on the same Submarine 33 years earlier. Not only was he a shipmate, but a friend that I would actually socialize with and get closet to. It really helped to make the weekend special. On dealing with my BOULDER or BLOCK as they may call it, I was also blessed to have a certified grief counselor on staff that weekend. They helped me to see I could still converse with my son, and that I could talk with him anytime. They helped me to let out the tears I was also afraid to show in front of my wife, and to see my feelings were normal and important to talk about in dealing with my son. It was a true healing weekend and I am forever grateful to have experienced what Vets Journey Home does for Veterans.
I went to the VJH weekend not knowing what to expect, hoping to deal with issues of anger and resentment. But finding out the my grief over losing my twenty-one year old son from an overdose of drugs was causing me more problems than I knew. Good and caring people helped bring me through some of the hardest parts of acceptance in this area.
One of the most amazing things was walking into the registration area and finding out that my room-mate for the weekend was also a Shipmate from my Navy days who I had not seen in 32 years! It was more than a coincidence, it was unbelievable. We were not just shipmates we were good friends too! So the re-connection was instant and although it brought back a ton of memories most of them were great and there was a good deal of healing on the weekend. I learned a number of things about my grief, I learned how to look at my relationship with my son in a different light. Just because he wasn't here in the physical sense didn't mean he didn't exist to me anymore. He lives on in my memories and in my heart forever. The staff was caring, competent and really interested in helping. I was asked to go into the weekend with an open mind, that's what I did. I didn't judge what may happen I just tried to allow it and see where it took me. I shared this all in excitement with my wife when I got home, and took it slow in explaining how to connect with our son in a different way. It was a great lesson that I am grateful for and I would love to experience this again to deal with other boulders or blocks that may hamper me from living my life to the fullest. Thank You Vets Journey Home. I appreciate what you do! - JD
This past weekend, I was given an extraordinary opportunity to heal and learn about my damage...yes, I healthily accept it as such, leaves room for growth. Vets Journey Home afforded me so very many things, most importantly there are actually 2 bullet points
The retreat experience can not be fully explained because it is completely individual for each vet. What every major issue is standing in the way of success this program can help to move it. The staff are both veterans and civilians, from this point forward I will never say civilians don't get it. These people were there to listen and support veterans like I have never experienced before. If you allow the teachings they offer to assist you amazing healing can take place.
I was partnered with Vets Journey Home with a Wellness Retreat for Veterans, I had seen some great transformations during that retreat. Vets Journey Home truly has the veterans interest at heart.
Keep up the great work. This organization has helped me with understanding myself more.
I have been a Clint and a volunteer with VJH!! It is an amazing experience and organization no matter which way you decide to do it!! I would recommend VJH to anyway!! It has helped my husband and I in many ways!! Great job VJH!!
I am a Vietnam Vet, and barely stayed out of trouble. My Vietnam experience was totally ingrained in, and drove me. I had no emotion or 'Heart'. I trusted nobody.
I went to Northern Wisconsin for a 'free' Vets Retreat , and found myself in a building with Veterans, and 'civilians'...civilians? Whoa! No way.!
I shared just enough to get to the point of, no 'backing out'. But no one had 'judged me' - strange.
That weekend the Staff had found a way for me to trust; and - open my Heart.
Now, when I staff a Vets Journey Retreat, I allow my Heart to do as much as possible.
No one would have enough money to pay, for me to do Heart Work.
VJH is an awesome program that helped me get over a bridge that I thought was impossible to cross. I aM deeply thankful for the program and the continued support I receive from not only the program, but also from the other Vets that faced similar experices. I recommend VJH to any soldier or couples that are facing challenges after returning home from deployment or that have had any significant experience in the military that needs focus and healing.
I've just completed the weekend of Vet's Journey Home in Wisconsin.
I had no idea what to expect from the werkend.
I learned of VJH by way of another non profit I'm pat of the past 9 years as of Nov '16.
This past weekend we were given the opportunity to write a farewell letter to a fellow service member who had 'fallen' in service.
Mine was mostly a peace time experience and I had not known a fellow fallen solder.
Immediately I realized I was the man that had not returned home.
My body is intact but my truest life ended 43 years ago. My letter was to myself and the life still back at tech school.
Mine is about MSA (military sexual assult aka MST or, military sexual trauma ).
My letter expressed the great loss I'd come to know after much counseling. My letter ended with me saying to mysrlf; I Cannot leave you at tech school...I Will find a way to bring you (me) home.
The VA offers many forms of treatment. One offering was medication. I've chosen other forms of treatment...inner personal healing work.
I CANNOT say enough or too much about my experience this past weekend with VJH.
I now know I have purpose...Purpose in helpng others toward their healing.
Please consider your own steps toward healing by looking at my invitation to take your Vets Journey Home weekend ecperience.
VJH changed my life for the better in 2009. Since that time, I have remained affiliated with VJH. VJH is a true non-profit. No one gets paid. We are all volunteers and there is no charge for Veterans to attend our weekends. We truly rely on donations to continue to make our organization successful.
Vets Journey Home is a true nonprofit where all of the money raised goes towards supporting and assisting our Vets...that means that none of the staff members get paid as they are volunteers! The experience of the retreat for the vets is life changing. I have staffed the event and what takes place over the few days makes a difference in the life of the vets who attend. Welcome home Vets!
What a truly wonderful experience I've had being able to staff two of the VJH weekends. So heartening to see the vets be welcomed into such a caring group. The transformations I've seen have been a true gift and I'm honored to have been there for them. I look forward to the next time!!
I have been a volunteer with Vets Journey Home in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania since 2008. I have been amazed at the wonderful healing work done by the Volunteers in this organization. There are no paid staff in this organization; all funds are used to support the programming to offer free healing weekends to Veterans. If you want to support Veterans, consider donating or volunteering with VJH.
10 plus years as a volunteer with this organization. The staff are 100 % committed to helping our vets and what is very important is this: In addition to helping our vets release their trauma and truly COME HOME, no one is paid to serve on the weekend retreats. This means that ALL the donations go directly to our vets - to provide them a free weekend that is safe and all encompassing - dedicated to healing the wounds of war.
I have worked with men, women, and children who have experienced trauma and PTSD for 25 years. For the last six years I have been involved in working with veterans and then I met others who were involved with Vets Journey Home . I am now an instructor and can speak to the well established practices and dedication of the staff to help our veterans come home. An atmosphere of total acceptance and respect for the vets and their stories is the foundation for this exceptional program. VJH-USA has deepened my life, both personally and professionally. It truly is a beacon for many to come home.
I love VJH. Helps heal our Veterans wounds. Nothing like it. I've been involved since early 2012. No one is paid. It is an ALL Volunteer organization. Every dollar goes to support our Veterans. Thank you to the men and women who give their time and service to help our Veterans. More importantly, thank you to all our Veterans who come and share their experiences with us. The Beautiful thing is most of the Veterans that come through our program. Come back and volunteer to help their fellow Veteran's in their Healing process. Again, I love Vets Journey Home. Mike Hanson
PS Inside Joke: Colonel, I'm still waiting for my check.
I am a Vietnam combat veteran. I heard about this program from a veteran friend who benefited greatly from his weekend. The program was totally free. The instructors and staff were all volunteers, about 20 for our 9 veterans. Their process,program, allowed me to share my experiences that I had never shared with anyone. I have never met such a dedicated, understanding group of people that "get it". I witnessed, not only my own personal transformation, but everyone there shared amazing stories of sacrifice and pain. It was a great healing experience for us all. I highly recommend this program for any veteran dealing with service related trauma.
VJH...this no cost retreat for a well deserved group... Our Vets...
A safe, non judging environment filled with a family of civilians and veterans, a genuinely caring group that has set aside their weekend to be with you. I say this from my heart...I feel honored to be part of this family.
You come to a weekend of uncertainty, with silent and heavy burdens you carried home from your time given to our country ,for all of us....
..I can only say...if you come ...you will leave with a lightness and healing you may think you could never feel again.... Please do this for yourself....
Ps... And thanks to those of you who have, my life has been blessed at each retreat I could be part of... I will forever be grateful....
As a vet who served in the 60s, and didn't find Vets Journey Home till the 90s, I thought I had dealt with any issues I had around my time in the military. I was very incorrect in that thought. At the VJH weekend I dealt with five major issues I was carrying around with me and minor ones also. I laid them down there with the help of other vets (staff and participants) and non vet volunteers and it changed my life. It continues to have a powerful positive force in my life and I give thanks to those who helped me through the weekend. I have great gratitude for the folks who continue to help vets on VJH weekends and gratitude for the opportunity to volunteer myself.
For me, "Volunteer" is a key word in describing the Vets Journey Home. The fact that numerous folks have chosen to take time from their lives (family, friends, leisure, hobbies, loved ones, etc.) to help veterans to get home fully, continues to fill me with hope and gratitude.
The miracles I have witnessed on VJH weekends will stay with me all my days.
As Vietnam veteran attending Vet's Journey Home 20 years ago, I was initially guarded, but by the end I felt welcome, safe and finally home. It was the first time since I left the service that I slept without nightmares. It was the beginning of a new life for me without PTS.
Now I volunteer to staff these retreats to give back the love, acceptance, understanding, and support that I received. Every time I staff I heal even more, even as I help heal other veterans.
This program saves lives and families. I am living proof.
- Mitch Tyler
Supporting veterans to recover themselves from the wounds of war provided me great satisfaction. This is a real way to pay back our service men and women for all they have given. The program helped me understand the real price we as a community pay for war and gives me hope for the future. I am proud and honored to have worked with the dedicated and skillful group of volunteers who are the backbone of this program.
This was a life changing weekend for me. It gave me the opportunity to get my self grounded and retake my Journey Home. I liked it so much that I became a Board member, with the intention of helping at a deeper level. As I learn more about the organization, I can't help but to respect and love it even more. This is truly an organization that goes about and behind the expectations formed by Veterans, and for the Veterans. We get to witness miracles every weekend we have.
I am a MST (Military Sexual Trauma) Survivor, Complex PTSD and am a survivor of multiple Life Involved Traumas. I have been on a 30 year Suicide mission; until I met my therapist and went to one of the Retreats, which was hosted by Veterans Journey Home. My therapist and the VA had been trying to get me to agree to group counseling; and until I had experienced the program and processes presented by this Organization I had not a clue of what to expect.
During my weekend, in the retreat (which by the way was completely free of financial cost, or expectation of payment of any sort) my only expense was my time and emotional commitment to the process; which did not come easy. However, during the weekend I crossed so many "Milestones," that I could not even begin to describe.
For years I had not been able to sleep on an elevated surface (bed), or in a room with other people; with the events of the first night and the care, love, compassion, and support of the staff and Instructors, I was able to settle in and found the first night of uninterrupted and uneventful rest/sleep; that I have not had since childhood.
The efforts of everyone and care I received in that retreat in February at the Big Bear, Ca. site, was so attentive and full of support that myself and others who participated in that retreat, formed a bond between all of the participants, staff members and Instructors that I would have never thought was possible between myself and anyone else.
I had no idea of what to expect while I was Enroute to the retreat site. Talking to the person who picked me up, I was told that he was not even going to discuss what the retreat was about or what goes on at the retreat. He explained that it is different for everyone and that everyone gets something unique and different from the experience.
He could not have been more on target with his description; and I will forever be in his debt for his honesty.
When I returned from my weekend with Vet's Journey Home, Everyone around me not iced a huge difference in me; including my therapist was not a VA Provider. She mentioned several times that her job had been made somewhat easier, with the milestones and barriers that the retreat helped me get through.
Since February 2015, The results of my time at the retreat had somewhat came to be recognized not only by people around me, but also by myself. The retreat and the efforts of my Therapist in conjunction with the retreat has unlocked so many facets of my life, and my life has become more fulfilled and manageable that I don't believe that this site would have enough band-width to support the documentation, or recounting of.
All I know is that giving credit to my therapist, I must also give credit to Veterans Journey Home, it's staff, it's Instructors, and it' s processes have literally saved my life. Prior to seeking out and accepting this Organizations assistance, I was begging on a daily basis to stop living. Now, I am finding times that I am celebrating life again. (something else I have not experienced since childhood.)
Thanks Vet's Journey Home!
I have been involved with Vets Journey Home for over 4 years. The program has given me my mission in life, "Helping Our Veterans" . This program helps our veterans deal with PTSD, TBI and the silent scars that happen to our veterans when they serve our great country. I highly recommend this program to ALL VETERANS WHO HAVE SERVED OUR COUNTRY !
Working with "Vets Journey Home" and the participants has been so rewarding. We allow vets a safe, confidential and non-judgemental opportunity to tell their story and get a release from the guilt, shame, and anger that they have harbored for many years. The difference from their first night to graduation is nothing short of amazing. I give it a 5 star rating. 10 stars would be More appropriate.
This program has helped me a lot with my post deployment issues and post military life. I cannot stress how much this has helped me. So much so, that I have stepped up to be on staff to help other veterans.
Beginning my journey in 2009, with previous VJH Staff, life was still hard. I began to notice change since I went back 2013...with the new and improved VJH STAFF! In less than 2 yrs I have began to live more outside my GI box. Learned to accept and give love to ALL mankind! I have been given such great roll models,GIFTS n knowledge....My family is starting to learn to talk, developed more loving ways to communicate, and accept n love each other in all our differences. HUGE LEAP recently in progress! Thanks to universe n WI -VJH
Vets Journey Home is a super organization! At no charge to veterans, they provide a 3 day intensive therapy to get us back on the road to wholeness. It is life changing and I know of no other opportunity like it.
Vet's Journey Home is family helping family with no judgments, shaming, or hassles. The best thing is it's ALL volunteer without anyone involved making a dime off of the vets. Free help that's actually free, what a concept.
I am a civilian who has twice staffed for Vets Journey Home (once in California and once in Maryland). The organization is the very best of well intentioned people within a caring environment possessing skills that make a difference in welcoming our Veterans home and helping them on their individual path of healing. The Veterans participate at no cost to themselves. The heart of the organization and the work are the caring people--the work that is done borders on the miraculous--I trust that every dollar donated has been and will be used for the benefit of our Veterans.
This is an amazing healing program that starts on a Friday and lasts until Sunday afternoon with a celebration of those who participated in the retreat. It is a free retreat for all service members and veteran to help with the emotional healing that has held them back from being present to family, themselves, or community. The staff are wonderful and assist with what is needed for this healing to take place. I have seen participants who were disconnected from life on Friday become engaged, smiling and sharing hugs on Sunday. Join us or share your resources with this wonderful organization.
I was invited to staff this weekend program by a leader, who said they were in need of women for this healing weekend. I was to represent the women's experience of being receptive and accepting, during a mostly male workshop. I thought I didn't have any connection to the military except one uncle, but wow, was I surprised at what surfaced for me!!! I loved holding space for the healing - the telling of sorrowful, ugly, shameful or proud stories that poured forth.
The transformation I saw through the 2 days and nights was amazing and the network of healing that formed amongst these service people was priceless!
My name is Charlie, I'm a vietnam vet, and I was a participant at Northwoods VJH in 2010. That experience changed my life in many ways, but the most important way was that their are thousand of men and women who could benefit from a VJH weekend. I have staffed in 2011,12,and 13 and have witnessed how much participants can change for the better in one weekend. I'm looking forward to staffing again in 2014 to help heal our vets who deserve more than what their getting.
Please join us I'm sure you won't be sorry!!!!
The VJH Experience:
I can honestly say that staffing VJH has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life.
I have made many great friends, and have received many gifts.
Every Weekend is challenging, demanding, and ultimately uplifting.
The healing that occurs is of course mainly focused on the participants, and we staffers often benefit in unexpected ways
As long as my health permits, I intend to continue to volunteer my time and energy to this wonderful program!
Thanks for accepting me as a staffer! See you all soon!
After publishing my book, Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening, I wanted to donate partial profits to a hands-on group led by dedicated, honest, veterans. I asked several Vietnam veterans for ideas, and the name Vets Journey Home quickly came to the top of the list. I contacted Founder and Director, Gene McMahon, who is also a Certified Instructor and Instructor Trainer. He invited my husband, a Vietnam veteran, to attend as a participant, and me to attend as a staff member. Gene and his trained staff worked with each veteran, collectively and individually. Within hours, the participants had bonded like "a band of brothers," already experiencing changes in their lives. I witnessed nine veterans who arrived in pain from combat experiences heal throughout the weekend. By Sunday night, the terrible burden they had carried, some for decades, others for a few years, was lifted. My decision to support VJH financially and physically was easy. Vets Journey Home puts veterans back together and makes miracles happen.
I have since staffed 5 Vets Journey Home weekends and joined the West Coast board, and I'm totally hooked on this organization. We do so much good, and pick up where the VA and other governmental agencies leave our vets with nothing to sustain them. I've heard several grads of the program say that we provide a family, and it's true. Vets can return to staff weekends and continue their connection with our extended "family," all the while paying it forward and feeling good about themselves and their contributions. This is a nonprofit that is all heart, and it deserves all the support and recognition it can get.
Vets Journey Home has become a new passion in my life. I staffed my first VJH weekend in January of 2011 and fell in love with the program, the participants, the rest of the staff, and the leaders. As a facilitator for similar programs that are not specifically for military vets, I really value that Vets Journey Home provides an essential service, free of charge, to those who have served our country. The sheer magnitude of the healing and transformation that occurs on these retreats is something that has to be seen to be believed.
Vets Journey Home is an honorable welcoming intensive weekend. It was started by a Viet Nam veteran that felt a need to welcome home Viet Nam veterans that had gotten no support from the general population. It has morphed into a multi state organization that has brought home many hundreds of Veterans of all services, that have served in war and peace time. A major benefit is the women that attend these weekends. They are able to tell their story in a very safe container. As an instructor for these weekends, I have seen many hurting veterans find the peace they are looking for and have seen them return to the joy that they so richly deserve!
Vets Journey Home came to early on when it was Bamboo Bridge. I took Bamboo Bridge in 1997 and have been active in what is now Vets Journey Home. In taking the weekend back in '97, I, for the first time in many years was able to tell my story to people that could and would understand. It was, literally, a life changing weekend. That was the weekend that I started my journey home. I had been lost and shut down for a long time.talking abut my 'Nam experience, and getting out in the open served to start healing the emotional wounds that I have experienced. Now staffing the weekends, giving back, has helped me to continue to heal and has started the healing process for other wounded vets.
I have been to several of the "graduations" held at the end of the weekend & I know the facilitators and some volunteers. They truly love what they do, they love vets and serve them in a way vets need. This organization is making a difference in the lives of those that have sacrificed so much for us. They deserve to be recognized & supported. Thank you. God Bless America and those who serve.
This program is an exceptional honoring of veterans from all wars. The work done at VJH lifts and celebrates veterans in such a way that they often feel it's their first true welcome home. I was so inspired by the program that I felt compelled to write about it along with oral histories from Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers returning from war. I included their program in the book because it reveals the hope that comes from healing wounded hearts. Anyone who has served deserves this program! Readers can learn more about it by purchasing my book, Veterans' Journeys Home: Life after Afghanistan and Iraq. Half of the royalties from this book are donated to VJH!! That's how important the program is. Lori Holyfield
Once I registered, "Larry the Vet" called to keep me updated. It was an intense weekend in Wisconsin's Northwoods. The campsite was awesome and the food terrific. The staff/volunteers were so KIND it was almost uncomfortable. (I got used to it). The eye to eye contact was also a bit overwhelming to me. I think the biggest thing I had to work through was staying on task and not switching subjects to avoid my PTSD issues. And breathing. The weekend was exactly as the name of the of the non profit suggests-vets returning home-to their hearts. I am grateful to have attended and I know I have some more healing to do. It was amazing to watch many hardened vets let go and take off their masks. I was very appreciative of the free weekend.
I never thought of myself as needing help because I thought I had conquered my issues. VJH allowed me to open myself to the
many buried emotions I had as the result of being the child of a vet with PTSD. This program is an invaluable asset to all who allow themselves the opportunity to participate. The camaraderie, the warm support and welcome experienced within the context of a safe and nourishing environment are just a few of the benefits of participation.
I am now a proud volunteer.
I have worked as a psychotherapist for 20+ years with Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and the current war. Vets Journey Home is an exceptional opportunity for Veterans to experience a true healing! I am the volunteer Site Coordinator for the Northwood's Vets Journey Home in May each year at the Camp Bird site in Crivitz WI. This weekend has truly been a gift and blessing to those who participate in the experience. We are truly gifted to have this national program available in our local area. Kudos to Patricia, Gene and the VJH board members!
My husband and I were both participants and then later were able to volunteer also. We were blessed with the opportunity to be in the first couples group. My husband had attended before, but both of us being able to go was fantastic. He still doesn't talk about "stuff" much, but we were both able to see some of what was happening to each of us without the assistance of Vets Journey home.
The excersizes organized by Sam and the rest of the coordinators of the program provide each individual the opportunity to come out of the shadows and fear. Even if it's just a step at a time. They provide a safe atmosphere and encourage trust. The participants are there for themselves and are not having to worry about anything else for a time. I would like to mention the food is pretty good too.
My husband was the original "victim" , but as his spouse I became another victim who suffered also. Thanks to Vets Journy Home I was able to find others to talk to and share concerns and fears. Until you experience the "aloneness" you may not realize how desperate you can become. Vets Journey Home was able to start us both on the road to recovery. I thank God this program has been able to expand and take in the secondary victims - spouses and family.
We need more programs like this. There are so many silently suffering from battles and thinking that there is nothing that can be done. Vets Journey Home is a Godsend. They don't promise miracles, but miracles do happen thanks to that program. Thank you all for your help and support.
I was a participant and I've also volunteered and staffed a weekend. I personally started the healing of emotional wounds I've carried for over 20 years, and have witnessed others do the same thing with emotional trauma's they've carried even longer than I have. It's not magic, but it's definiately a life changing experiance, and I recomend this to anyone who spent any time in the military.
I have staffed Vet's Journey Home several times. I am a civilian with a family member currently serving in the Middle East. In addition to the remarkable healing I have witnessed among the Vets in this program, I also experienced deep healing from the emotional trauma of my own experiences watching my friends who went to serve in Viet Nam and how they were changed while I stayed here "safe and sound". This program is a powerful service to the Veterans who have served our country. We owe them so much for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for all of us.
Over the past 10 years I staffed 20 of these trainings. The men and women come from the best place for the vets; they come from the heart. Over those years I have been mentored and challenged to step up beyond what I thought I could do. I am a leader in my family and my community. MAny thanks
My experience with Vets Journey Home has changed my life and that of my family in an amazingly positive way. I returned from Iraq after a 16 month deployment and thought I would just move right back into my "normal" life as a husband and father. Five years later I woke up one morning and did not recognize the man that was looking at me in the mirror. There were problems in my family because of how I had changed. It was that day I decided I needed some type of help. After participating in the VJH course, I began to move towards a more positive lifestyle. VJH not only gave me hope of a more fulfilled life, it gave me the tools and support to cope with issues that I had bottled up for such a long time. Every day I wake up a happier man. My wife and two daughters are much happier now that they have their "old Larry"" back. Thank you Vets Journey Home for making it possible for me to heal my heart and begin anew!
Sincerely, Larry Flaskrud - US Army 14 years of service, WI