I staffed Vet's Journey home the first time 6 years ago. Since that time I have been at more than 12 weekends. Not only do I have the opportunity to be a small part of the healing that takes place I also am there to listen, love, and welcome the Vet's home with open arms. VJH has also helped me to feel closer to my son (even though he is far away) who has been deployed many times over the last 10 years. As a family member of a serviceman I get a chance to give back just a little of what they give to our country. This is the most loving, open and welcoming program I have been fortunate to volunteer with in over 30 years of volunteer work. The transformation that takes place for the Veterans is amazing.
I "did" the weekend back in 1997 when it was called The Bamboo Bridge. The name has been changed however the objective and amazing results are the same. After doing the weekend I assisted at several following weekends and found that it didn't matter much whether I was a student of the weekend or an assistant. The healing and growth kept on coming.
I spent a year in Vietnam in a relatively safe environment and realized years later that I had this guilt of not being part of the horrors of battle that affected so many others that were over there. The weekend helped me actually see what really mattered. I did the best job that I could do with the tasks that I was given. I realized that my duty from that point on was to honor every person that was and is in the service for standing up and doing what they are asked to do. I often ask the men and women that didn't make it back during the year I was there if I am living up to there expectations. I really feel that they deserve the best out of me as they gave up all that they could be keeping me safe over there. They'll let me know if i did ok when we all get together again.
I started out w/ Vets Journey Home as a volunteer & staffed my first weekend in the spring of 2009. I saw the powerful difference it made in the lives of the participants & thanks to Gene, received healing that I didn't even know I needed after my time in the Navy in the early '80s. Since then, I've staffed each weekend that's taken place here in Maryland. Each time reinforces why I support VJH - because it definitely helps heal the wounds of the soul that veterans & others impacted by the trauma of war have received. I cannot recommend the weekend enough for those struggling with the aftereffects of war.