I had no clue about the need until I got involved. During my 22 years in the military, I felt I was in a safe place. We didn’t go to combat, even though I was deployed.
So, to be able to see the need warriors and their families have for respite [is profound].
It’s difficult when you’re in the hospital, and you have the routine of appointment after appointment after appointment.
Here, family can actually be family again. They can reconnect and rejuvenate.
We’ve gotten so many letters from warriors and families. One said, “I didn’t even know my daughter loves basketball [until this retreat].”
There was also one warrior we’d known for years. He had four deployments and he refused to come to Willing Warriors, saying somebody else needed it more. When he finally called to come himself, I said, “If he’s calling, it’s serious.” So, we got him here with his family.
He wrote a long letter to the retreat after he left, and at the very end of it, he said, “With 22 suicides per day [in the military community], you just saved one. Thank you.”