From the beginning we have touted ourselves as an organization which lends itself to those in the military community - both active and veteran - as a way to escape for a weekend. Get together with like minded brothers and sisters in arms and rekindle the family and esprit de corps we all once felt. To give them a place to be themselves, dark humor, off color jokes and peace of mind knowing you were around someone else as whacky as you bc they "get it".
But, as time has gone on we have realized we can be SO much more. We know that PTSD and TBI takes a huge toll on thousands with only so many outlets for help and sometimes the help they require should not be a daily handful pills. It's receiving "functional" therapy like wood working, horse back riding, sky diving or driving/wrenching on a race car. Because of this missing link, we have partnered with Hidden Wounds who will ensure the services we provide to our brothers and sisters meet the needs they require in order to cope, work through and escapes the pains of these terrible afflictions. To ensure we are meeting those needs, Hidden Wounds Certified Counselors will be fully training our staff & volunteers in "Mental Health First Aide", "Question, Persuade, and Refer - Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention" and "Certified Veteran Recovery Peer Specialist". This opportunity they are bestowing upon us - to truly help those afflicted with PTSD/TBI - is amazing and we are so honored they will be working with us. In fact, one of their staff members will join our board - as a non voting member - so we will have a DIRECT liaison with Hidden Wounds and their capabilities to help those outside our of own organic abilities.
Not to be left out is the local work I am doing here within the New Orleans area. Recently there have been many reports of equestrian therapy and how good it has been for those suffering from mental ailments. I have since talked with a stable in our area who agreed to work on a program with me for veterans and active service members to partake in general equestrian work; be it cleaning, brushing, riding, stable work and assisting with farrier work.
This whole venture started out as a fun thing to due with like minded military friends but has since morphed into something much bigger. Middle of last month our 501(c)(3) status as a tax exempt charity when through and since that time so many things have come online giving us a more legitimate status in the veteran charity world. On our board there is:
Brian Czech, CWO2/Mobility Officer, CEO/Executive Director
Nathan Gravelle, Maj/MV-22 Pilot, COO/Vice Director
Drew Gentry, CWO2/Bulk Fuels, CFO
Georgi Hernandez, CWO5/Combat Camera, Comms Director
Brian Fennel, OIF Veteran, Secretary
Bottom Line brother, our organization has and will continue to make an impact in the lives of service members and first responders both past and present, whether that's at the track, car shows, a horse stable or on the phone.