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Review for Operation Ward 57, Seattle, WA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I first heard about "Operation Ward 57" 5 years ago when I noticed a dear friend was wearing a shirt with their logo. She very proudly told me about the amazing organization that her daughter was involved with. It was a lot to absorb at the time, but I have become much more familiar with this non profit since. OPW57 takes it's name, I learned from the amputee's ward at Walter Reed Medical Center, and their scope of support, and assistance in recovery of wounded veterans is vast! It's scope is nationwide now.
Besides the obvious aid to amputees, OPW57 helps veterans and their families adjust to the challenges of life after a traumatic injury. From helping to arrange service animals, or help in navigating the complex system of government red tape, to offering comfort teddy bears to children. Customized with specific limb injuries and matching uniform, complete with a name. Even an adopt a family program at Christmas time! The focus on family support is a big part of the service OPW57 provides. Moral is helped by special visits to the ward, including gifts, catered meals, or even live music for patients, and family. Continued support includes group excursions to concerts, and sporting events to help veterans enjoy a better quality of life and create mutual bonds with other veteran families. With all of this, 22 suicides a day is still a reality, and OPW57 provides a helpline to any veteran in need of moral support. The number of services for injured veterans, and connections to other kinds of help is way too extensive to describe here.
At my age, I just missed the Vietnam conflict, thankfully, but I knew many personally who were drafted, and some who volunteered. I say "thankfully" for a very important reason. One that is mostly forgotten I feel. The Vietnam "war" was extremely unpopular! Returning vets were generally not considered to be heros, as today's vets are. They were badly damaged, and were let down by the system, spit upon by their fellow citizens, and generally abandoned to struggle with minimal medical aid and even less emotional assistance. The result was a huge number of Americans with little or no acceptance in society, or ability to be functional in their community or adjust to family life after a traumatic experience. I WISH there was such an organization as "Operation Ward 57" around in the '70s.
They are saving lives AND families!

Role:  General Member of the Public