A friend introduced me to this incredible organization nearly a year ago and I am forever indebted to her and the organization! Patricia and other staff members helped me understand the depression and PTSD of the military sexual trauma I'd experienced and started the healing process I desperately needed.To continue my healing and help others do the same, I have volunteered for many of the program's supported by Patricia and the Starfish Foundation and find them to have impeccable integrity, compassion and a true gift for helping people deal with the toughest of situations with excellence and elegance!Because of my involvement with this organization, I am finding new joy every day and the courage to live life fully!
I am honored and humbled by being able to witness the veterans journey home. It brings tears to my eyes to think that these men and women put their lives and life on the line for me, my freedom and all of America. VJH is truly a safe place for every vet to come home. My husband, a VN vet, participated and afterwards his PTSD changed and life was much more pleasant.
I went to this weekend to serve our Veterans. What I got from the weekend was some deep emotional healing for myself around my experiences during the Vietnam War. As a civilian of "draft-able age", I saw many of my friends taken into war, and returned with deep emotional and physical wounds. This weekend gave me some closure around my experiences.
I enjoyed my time at Vet’s Journey Home both as a participant and staff. I’ve learned so much. The staff is great. They couldn’t get any better! If the word could get out to all vets, the hall would be full. It is GREAT. Last but not least. Thank you for taking some of the load off of my shoulders. I can’t thank you enough. It’s been 40 years. THANK YOU!
Working on Vets Journey Home through funding from Starfish Foundation has been an amazing experience --- helping and being with those who gave so much to my freedom is a joy! Thanks to Starfish Foundation for making it possible!
Every time I come home from a vets journey home I,m very excited to have been a volunteer for the weekend. During the weekend every hr of every day I can see the improvement in the particapents and when they tell their story and start their journey home I cant help but cry because I know that I helped bring another vet home and they so deserve it.
I have participated in the Vet's Journey Home weekends as an civilian assistant. The healing that happens during this weekend is stunning. It serves to bring the veterans' experiences into the community in a way that provides clearing and opening and understanding for all of us. I feel privileged every time I am able to offer my services to support this amazing work.
I am a 20 year retired vet. My experience with Vets Journey Home started with it's predacessor, Bamboo Bridge. I'm the guy always with his back to the wall, always vigilant, looking for the unexpected threat and a way out, or at least I used to be. Since attending that first weekend, and staffing many weekends since, my life is so much different. So much better. I can't say thank you enough.
I am female Army veteran and have staffed both Vets Journey Home and its predecessor, Bamboo Bridge. Every time I staff I come away with a profound respect and awe for what other veterans have endured in both their military and civilian lives. I have watched vets heal some of these wounds right during the weekend -- becoming lighter, happier, more at peace. As I continue to meet veterans and active military enduring the trauma of war, and of sexual harassment and assault, I am so thankful that I have this program that I can recommend to them to help in their healing.
My role was two-fold: I was on the staff as well as being there to observe and write about the Vets Journey Home. I have been to other retreats/weekends for veterans and families and this was unique in many ways. Because the group was so small -- 8 partipants and about a dozen staff members -- there was an intimacy that helped establish an atmostphere of safety and trust that is crucial if there is to be kind of opening up and healing over a short space of time. All the veterans were dealing with issues relating to trauma and therefore, so were their spouses. Patricia Clason is obviously highly skilled in her work, and it became apparent almost immediately, that the particpants were in good hands. She set the tone of safety and trust, of strong boundaries and structure from the beginning and was consistent throughout the weekend. For this community, who all struggle with trust and safety issues, this was crucial. Facilitator Judge Mattocks' skill, wisdom and compassion was evident throughout, as he helped the particpants through some difficult and painful process work. All the staff members showed a level of caring and compassion that was palpable, and the particpants seemed to feel it throughout the weekend. Because the process work is so intense and can be so depleting, it was very important that there be times of refueling and restoring. Mealtime was one of those times. The food was not only delicious but was prepared with love by staff volunteers. For the veterans who have experienced the ripple effects of trauma and a sense of being betrayed and not being cared about, this was important and meaningful. Mealtime provided an opportunity for laughter and letting down, for staff and participants to get to know and enjoy each other. The weather made it difficult to have time outdoors to walk, rest and restore. More time in the fresh air would have been good.
The Vet's Journey Home provides an opportunity for veterans to be welcomed home in a safe, trusting and nurturing environment. The staff of caring men and women is highly motivated and skilled to allow the participants to heal old wounds and traumas, tell their stories and feel like they are deeply connected to others who have endured similar circumstances. I have been deeply moved by the strength, honesty, courage and miraculous healing that this workshop evokes.
My first staffing of VJH took place when my son was in Iraq. I was not only able to give my time, talent, and hope to the vets, I gained so much more for myself in understanding what these wonderful soldiers face everyday of their lives after experiencing war. My son will be leaving for his 9th deployment soon. I feel my volunteer work with VJH is a way of contributing back to the families who have sacrificed day to day life while the soldiers are deployed. It is also a way of saying thank you to those same soldiers who have given so much and can't always find who they are after deployment until they experience the Vets Journey Home Weekend.
I was a participant of one of the Vet's Journey Home Weekend's a few years ago. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I was a woman in combat in 1991 during Desert Storm. I have a bad case of PTSD. These people understood and helped me adjust far more than any V.A. program ever designed for us to date. Before the weekend, I was on the verge of suicide. Since, I have written 2 books and produced over 180 short films. My life went from having no meaning to finding abundance. I have continued to go back and volunteer at every possible weekend since. I get a lot from volunteering and knowing I helped make a difference in another struggling veteran's life. There aren't enough words in the English language to sing the praises of VJH and the Starfish Foundation Inc. Patricia Clason and Gene McMahon are wonderful healers and should be afforded every opportunity possible to keep doing the work they have dedicated themselves to by helping veterans. With the troops coming home from two wars, they provide an invaluable service. Please help them keep healing us.
I volunteered to staff at the Vets Journey Home. org several times. I was so impressed with the depth of their work, that I raised funds and did a documentary which they now use on their website to promote the work they do with Vets. They have a weekend workshop which truly begins to bring soldiers back from their war/trauma and experiences by using a combination of well orchestrated exercises-- that really take people back into their most difficult moments and then transform and re-frame the other memory with the help of the compassionate people in the room staffing. It is deep and miraculous work.
I volunteered to be a staff person at a Vet's Journey Home weekend in San Diego in 2009. Not being a military veteran myself, I was still anxious to support the men and women who had served in the many conflicts to which our soldiers have been ordered since World War II. My experience was positive; I was able to see how vital this type of process is for some Vets. There were tears and many stories recounting loss, fear, regret and guilt felt by different veterans. There was also an atmosphere of complete acceptance that allowed for healing, for moving on to the present and getting on with life.
After returning home from my tour in 'Nam, I stayed drunk for many years, hoping to forget. The only joy I had was through my children. I did finally quit drinkin, and the pain continued. I still had the issues, dreams and pain. It wasn't til I heard about Vets Journey Home, it was called Bamboo Bridge at that time, 1997, that I did any real work in my issues. A buddy told me about the weekend and I decided to attend. The Fridayy evening of the weekend, I got so scared of facing my demons, that I left and didn't come back that weekend. Some time passed, the pain increased and the dreams kept me from functioning in the world. I decided to face my fears and attend another Vets Journey Home weekend. This one, I saw thru. I faced the worst of my dreams, talked about it for the first time in many, many years. That weekend started me on my path to self recovery. With the help of the very concerned staff, I was taken back to 'Nam and talked about what happened. After that weekend, I still have the dreams, and they don't have the charge they had, nor do they own me any more. It has been my honor to staff many Vets Journy Home weekends. Giving back the the orginazation that, litteraly saved my life and sanity.
I have staffed the Vets Journey Home weekend every time there is one in Texas with one exception. I have seen the healing of soldiers (men and women that is miraculous)as they deal with the wounds of war that cannot be seen, but affect their lives deeply. This weekend helps them to get back into the life they left behind to go to combat. They are all heroes and deserve our support in every way. I wish this weekend was available all over the country as there are thousands veterans and their families who do not get this opportunity in any other way.
I first attended the predecessor of the Vets Journey Home called the Bamboo Bridge in 1998. As a Viet Nam vet i only spoke about my war experiences to a select few, mostly other VN vets. My experience that weekend was profound and healing. Since that September day I have staffed over 30 of these weekends and each one has been exceptional. On a graduation ceremony last year we had a 3 star admiral attend who stated to the group that this work we are doing is vital and ground breaking.
I am a disabled Vietnam Vet suffering from PTSD. I was in the very first PTSD group in the nation. It was in Milwaukke, WI, in 1971. I was in a PTSD group from 1988 to 1989. I also had many 1:1 sessons through out my life dealing with PTSD. In 2002 I was in an in-patient, 60 day PTSD group. I continue to be in a group for the last 3 years. Yet I continued to carry alot of guilt, shame and sorrow that came from some experiences that occured while in Nam. I went to a Vets Journey home weekend in October of 2009. Through the processes and staff help I became relieved of the shame and guilt I had been carrying for the last 40 years. It was an epiphany. I was able to forgive myself and my PTSD symptoms have decrease as did my depression. I recommend the Vets Journey home program to any combat Vet that feels they could benefit from some intervention. The staff are extremely kind, gentile, supportive and professional. The staff go out of their way to make sure that the participants are in a safe environment. AND YOU GET A REALLY COOL T-SHIRT. BREEZY BRZESKI
I was impressed beyond words by the professionalism and obviously well trained facilitators at the Vets Journey Home Project. The facilitators and the volunteer staff demonstrate a deep appreciation for our veterans and compassionate understanding for the challenges that come with reintegration. I think having veterans give back to the program through volunteering is the greatest evidence of the powerful work that gets done with VJH. I remain in awe of the excellence and loving atmosphere that is veteran centered.
I was invited to participate several times before I went through this wonderful program we call Vets Journey Home. After going through as a participant and being helped to dump 30+ years of guilt and total silence and keeping everything buried deep inside, I got to tell some other Vets and some very caring staff members my story. It was a wonderful journey and the GREATEST welcome home I have ever recieved. Actually it was the FIRST welcome home I ever recieved. What a wonderful program staffed totally by Volunteers a lot of whom are Veterans themselves and have been through the program as a participant. They now want to share in this great work as a volunteer staff member to help bring any other Veteran of any branch of service and from any war or combat theatre give them all a HEALTHY, HAPPIER and more steady footing for their new life. It also gives the Veterans family a new, more loving, sharing start. I cannot count all the blessings I got by going through the program and I now volunteer to staff any VJH home weekend that comes up. It is always FREE for all vets. We feel that they have already paid their price! Sincerely, Hal A. Irwin