This week, we’re happy to introduce a new guest blogger, Lyndsey Hodges, an avid supporter of giving back to the community and Community Outreach Manager at The Mission Continues.
On Tuesday, August 24, The Mission Continues celebrated its third birthday. The Mission Continues (http://www.missioncontinues.org/) is a nationwide nonprofit based in St. Louis, Missouri, and our mission is to build an America where every returning veteran can serve again as a citizen leader, and where together we honor the fallen by living their values through service.
The Mission Continues offers wounded and disabled veterans a challenge to continue their service here at home by enabling them to gain personal and professional skills to ease their transition to civilian life, while simultaneously helping their communities. The Mission Continues sees veterans not as problems, but as assets. Continue reading
Vets H.E.R.D. – short for Helping to Empower Returning and Disabled Veterans – is an organization made up of local veterans. They recently built an addition to the home of the parents of Marine Staff Sgt. John Stanz, after he returned from a military hospital in Germany.
More than 20 local contractors and suppliers donated their time and materials to help build a bedroom, bath and living area for John, to help him with his recovery. Vets H.E.R.D. also organized a four-day vacation for the family while the addition was being finished.
“John to me is my brother,” said their vice president Jordan Strong. “When family is in need, you help them out.” John is part of MARSOC – the top one percent of the Marine Corps serving in special operations. Strong continued, “They do the missions no one knows about. They take the risk that no one knows about, to ensure our freedoms, to keep our country safe. We owe it to them to help them. He’s helped and protected us in ways we can’t begin to understand.”
John suffered a catastrophic head injury, his second combat injury, while serving in Afghanistan. He had received his first Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq.
Vets H.E.R.D., located in western New York, is a group of veterans and their families and friends whose mission is to raise awareness of the lack of veterans’ resources in their local community while ensuring that no veteran or service member is forgotten upon their return to civilian life.
If you are currently looking for assistance within New York, visit the Warrior Gateway’s directory. If you know of similar organizations not already in our directory please add them here!
To view the Buffalo News original article, “A heartfelt home for a hero,” click here.
According to MSNBC, military leadership estimates that as high as 20% of the troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq may have some form of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI symptoms can range from those of a mild concussion (such as headaches or blurred vision) to the very severe (seizures, change in personality, repeated nausea or vomiting, weakness in the body, confusion, and others). While there is treatment available for some of the symptoms of TBI, there is no way to repair the actual damage done to the brain.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working to change that. DARPA is developing a new technology called REPAIR (Reorganization and Plasticity to Accelerate Injury Recovery. This technology would aid veterans who suffer from TBI by repairing brain damage through the use of electrical implants on the surface of the brain. The implants will use a science called “optogenics” to send out pulses of light that directly trigger individual neurons, repairing the neural pathways that are broken by TBI.
The project is in the early stages of clinical trials. However, if researchers are successful, there could someday be new hope for affected veterans and their families. For more on this research, check out the full article on WIRED.
Looking for resources now? Find, rate and share TBI-related services and other programs by click here.
The Military Health System News Service has an inspiring piece on Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister, who overcame odds to climb Mt. McKinley after being wounded by a roadside bomb three years ago. To commemorate his accomplishment, National Geographic magazine readers voted him Adventurer of the Year.
Photo courtesy of the NHS
Hoffmeister’s climb took place last year. During the climb, he served as leader of an expedition consisting of three other wounded veterans. The men had to devise creative solutions to work together to overcome the challenges presented by their respective disabilities.
“Who can tie knots for me and for Jon because our hands don’t work?” Hoffmeister asked. “How do we handle load distribution or how do we handle snowshoes for Matt who’s working off of a prosthetic leg? How do we protect Dave’s face from the UV radiation from the snow?”
“It was necessary for all of us to be in tune with where we were at physically and mentally throughout the climb and then adjust the team’s pace or load or take a rest day based upon how somebody else was doing in the team,” he continued.
Read the full story here.