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Vets Journey Home USA, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: To serve those who served our country, by offering this compassionate and welcoming retreat, where any story is heard without judgment and hearts are healed

Results: VJH USA is newly formed, although the work has been going on since 1989. Hundreds of vets have experienced emotional healing through Vets Journey Home since its inception.

Target demographics: All military veterans

Direct beneficiaries per year: dozens of Veterans

Geographic areas served: USA

Programs: free weekend retreats to heal emotional wounds and trauma.

Community Stories

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!!!

James115

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!
Jamie

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

JudyR

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

iceman64

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

1 lholyfield

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

2 Marialyce D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2 jeanne3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

2 Nancy T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2 Jamie H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2 Michael23456789101112

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1 Larry F.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This program deserves immense support. I have witnessed transformational experiences in every participant I know who has been through the Vets Journey Home program. This is just as true for staff as it is for participants.

Nance N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I was introduced to this program through my nephew, who went through the VJH program. He is an Iraq vet and was suffering from PTSD. The experience of completing the program made a tremendous difference in his life and in his family's lives. He became more able to adjust back into daily life, enjoy family gatherings, be in crowded places without getting extremely anxious. He could sleep better and found a calling to help other vets do the same.
He is now volunteering to work with his brother/sister vets and helping them in their assimilation back to a more normal life after their military experience. This program works with small groups of vets and letting them tell their story in a safe space and to heal some of the wounding from their experience. We owe this to the men and women who fought and continue to fight for our freedoms in all wars.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have personally seen very positive results as a result of Vets Journey Home from let's just say a relative. One who is like a son to me. He has worked very hard on his PTSD through VJH and has made amazing progress. His family has benefited greatly, he has become a role model for his family and all around him. He is positive, energetic, spiritual, engaging, non-judgemental, and very helpful to other veterans. I couldn't be more proud of him. We all have Vets Journey Home to thank for his transformation. I highy recommend the group and the programs that they sponsor.