Those of us who have never experienced the horrors of war can only begin to know the impact on those who have fought those battles in our name. We need to ask the question, "how can someone who goes into combat come out on the other side the same as they were prior to the experience"?
The answer is that they are not that same person. They are injured in ways that are not clearly visible like other wounds. To quote many a combat Veterans, "you never get your soul back".
These Veterans carry a heavy burden the rest of their lives often leading to many forms of dysfunction. We owe them some help. We will be doing weekend retreats for these Veterans in the Southern Adirondacks. The retreats will consist of outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking or fishing and maybe a trip to the Adirondack Museum.
Since the Spring of last year, we have been conducting Veterans retreats in the Southern Adirondacks in partnership with Homeward Bound Adirondacks, a great organization with a long history of providing the mental health support of these events.
The sites chosen for these events are lake side, private and serene venues that provide the perfect setting for relaxation and comradery. Outdoor events are hiking, fishing and kayaking for the warmer seasons and ice fishing and snowshoeing for the winter. All the activities give the vets a chance to bond and enjoy each other. Saturday night includes a group campfire for peer to peer discussion, an important element of the retreat providing at least some healing. By all measures the retreats have been a huge success. That coming from our most important critics, the vets themselves. We've heard some pretty powerful and positive comments from them that inspire us to continue with great enthusiasm. The relationship with HBA has been not only productive, but enjoyable and we look forward to working closely with them for a long time.
This mission will be conducted under the professional guidance of Homeward Bound Adirondacks. They have a great track record of conducting these missions under the leadership of a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice specializing in PTSD and Veterans.
This May we conducted a retreat just for Vietnam Veterans at the Waters Edge on Lake Pleasant which also included a visit to a "Great Camp as guests of the International Paper Co. They provided us with a pontoon boat ride and fishing on their beautiful private lake and then a first class brunch. We were all amazed and appreciative to be there and for the way we were all treated by their staff.
The whole weekend went amazingly well and the campfire sessions were very productive. Saturday night was a little damp with very light rain until the rain got a little heavier around 10pm. At that point two Veterans raised the arms shouting "Vietnam!" in reference to their in-country experience. Not missing a beat, their conversation continued and out of respect, our staff was honored to get wet with them.
We look forward to having more Vietnam Veteran retreats in addition to our retreats for our other Veterans.
Our relationship with Homeward Bound is a very good and productive one. Both organizations look forward to working together for a long time. We especially appreciate their expertise and mental health support.
For information about joining one of our retreats please contact Homeward Bound Adirondacks at the link below:
If you are a combat Veteran and would like to join us at one of these events or know of a Veteran that would like to join us, please reach out to us via the contact page on the website.
We would love to hear from you.
Our first Purple Heart mission took place this past August 20th.
It started out with a wonderful breakfast compliments of the Zaloga American Legion Post in Albany after which we headed down to Washington's Headquarters and then to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor where Washington initiated the medal that later became the Purple Heart.
After that we took a scenic boat ride on the Hudson River and followed that with an exciting tour of West Point Military Academy and then a great dinner at the famous and historic Thayer Hotel.
The Veterans who took part in this event had a great time and were very appreciative.
For us, it was a huge honor to spend a day with such heroes.
We will be conducting our next Purple Heart mission this August 5th. National Purple Day is August 7th. It will be the same as our last Purple Heart event with some minor modifications. If you are a Purple Heart recipient and would like to join us or if you know a Purple Heart recipient who would, please call Liz @ 518 339 2464.
This event, of course, is free to all Purple Heart recipients who may be accompanied by a loved one also at no cost.
We would love to hear from you.
We are planning a special retreat for gold star families. We are currently working with the Albany Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers Inc. The retreat will be late summer 2023 or early fall 2023. Please stay tuned for more information.