My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Veterans Airlift Command, Saint Louis Park, MN, USA
I found out about the Kansas City based Warriors’ Ascent Academy of Healing from a great friend of mine John Durham who still lives in El Paso Texas. (We met each other in 2015 through participation with Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, another non-profit organization.) He had just completed class 17 and wanted to share the tools he had found that helped him begin to heal wounds from Post-Traumatic Stress. Eight days before Warriors’ Ascent Academy of Healing class 18 was to begin I worked up the courage and sent an email to Jay Waldo, one of the founders. Thank goodness he responded almost immediately with news that there was in fact a seat for me. Warriors’ Ascent is unique in that Military Veterans, Police Officers, and Fire Fighters come together to concentrate on Mind, Body, and Soul. Currently I live near Nashville TN, so the 10 hour drive would have wiped out this Veteran with back issues for a few days, so I would not have been an ideal student at that point. I got online and tried to find a flight to Kansas City and became discouraged, since I was only a week away the ticket prices were out of reach. I contacted Mr. Waldo with my concern and he told me to contact Veterans Airlift. I used to be a very skeptical and negative person, so I figured maybe this is just not meant to be. Thankfully, to my rescue comes Veterans Airlift Command, another non-profit agency, the VAC provides free air transportation to post 9/11 combat wounded and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. I sent an email to Jenna Deibel, Mission Coordinator VAC, and in less than 10 minutes she called me to find out if they could help. Fortunately for me the Academy of Healing was in fact a program that met criteria and qualified me for assistance. After answering a few simple questions Jenna let me know that she would have me a flight confirmed within the next 3 hours. True to her word in about 2 hours I got a call and was given the pilots name. Joe Creecy, who happens to be the Chapter Leader of the Nashville IMC Club called to let me know the details of the flight and to answer any questions I had. Now if that is not awesome enough, the story gets even more heartwarming. Due to hurricane Nate the flight to Kansas City was not going to be possible, I was crushed by this news, as it was Saturday night and we were to head to KC Sunday. Never fear, Mr. Creecy secured me a commercial airline ticket to get me to KC. Now accepting a ride in someone’s airplane was something I convinced myself was ok to do, however, allowing someone to buy me a ticket was out of my comfort zone. After quite a bit of back and forth Mr. Creecy convinced me to accept the ticket, he just wants to help Veterans who are trying to help themselves. It does not stop there, so that I would not end up with my car in the wrong place, (my return flight from KC was already booked to Clarksville) Joe Creecy flew up to Clarksville, picked me up and flew me to a small airfield in Nashville. Then he drove me to the International Airport in Nashville, talk about going the extra mile. I am afraid I got tears on his shoulder when I hugged him in thanks. It’s just not every day that a stranger goes that far out of their way to help me, actually nothing like that had ever happened before. I did arrive in Kansas City on time and made it to the Warriors’ Ascent Academy of Healing. I had no preconceived notion about the course and really wasn’t sure what to expect. John Durham had told me just go in with an open mind and trust the process. I have to say this will go down as the most important 5 day course I ever worked up the courage to attend. While it is hard to explain what changed in me at the Academy, I will just say my Mind, Body, and Soul are on the track of continued healing. After graduation I had no plan for how I would get to the airport for my return Veterans Airlift flight, but with my new outlook on life I knew it would work out. The Veteran who left Tennessee to attend the course would have been stressed out and anxious about how he would get to the airport, the man who graduated the Academy does not worry about things like that anymore. Sure enough, I did not have to ask anyone for a ride, Steve Colladay, a Warriors’ Ascent Mentor asked if he could take me to the airport. The awesomeness of these non-profit agencies does not end yet. Next, Ross Schoneboom, a 26 year Army Veteran who is now with Cessna arrived in Kansas City with a jet to get me to Outlaw Field in Clarksville TN. Ross is a consummate professional and treated me as if I was family. It was a great finish to a week that has put me on a course to not only change my life, but I believe I will be able to help others. Thanks to all those involved in this Synchronicity.
US ARMY (RET)