Teeing Up Our Nation’s Heroes For Recovery

Reflecting on the healing powers of adaptive sports after the World’s Largest Golf Outing

Earlier this month, I had the chance to witness hundreds of golf courses and golfers across the country join forces to participate in the World’s Largest Golf Outing (WLGO). As an avid golfer, seeing so many golfers take the courses was even more special for me because, for the fourth year in a row, the event sought to raise awareness and funds for Fisher House Foundation. 

For most WLGO participants, the tournament is another great way to hit the links, but for our nation’s heroes, golf and other sports can mean so much more. For many returning service members and veterans, the battle is only just beginning. Thousands of veterans have wounds both visible and invisible that require an incredible amount of strength to overcome. In fact, in 2016, approximately four million veterans reported having a disability related to their time in service (U.S. Census Bureau). 

After an injury and a world turned upside down, patients embark on the difficult path to recovery. Throughout the rehabilitation process, some turn to adaptive sports. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, those who participate in adaptive sports experience less stress, lower dependency on pain medicine, fewer secondary conditions and greater independence.

Captain Will Reynolds has experienced the healing power of sports firsthand. In 2004, Will was severely injured by in an IED explosion that led to 26 surgeries and the eventual amputation of his left leg. In an effort to relieve stress and set recovery goals, Will turned to sports, going on to compete in the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games, where he won three bronze medals and served as captain of the 2016 U.S. Invictus Games team.  

Or take a look at U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder. In 2011, Brad stepped on an IED while helping victims of a nearby bombing, leading to severe injuries including a shattered eardrum and loss of vision. In his difficult recovery and journey back into civilian life, he found solace in swimming and went on to win seven gold medals at the Warrior Games and one gold medal at the Paralympics.

Fisher House is proud to support our military members throughout their recovery and to work with the unique organizations paving the way through adaptive sports. At the WLGO, it was incredible to watch community members of all ages coming together to honor our military and witness many recovering veterans and service members get out on the course and play. Through this support, Billy Casper Golf raised more than $308,000 to help us continue to our mission to serve our nation’s heroes.

At Fisher House, we know that the best medicine doesn’t always come from a doctor’s office. It can come from a family’s love, the connections we make with one another or the healing power of sports. We’re proud to stand with military families through the tough times and be there to witness their triumphs on or off the field. Giving back and standing beside our military can also come in a variety of different ways. Whether it’s through a donation, volunteering or simply thanking a veteran for their service, I urge readers to take the time to give back to our nation’s heroes.  

Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House

Great Things for Returning Veterans To Learn

Great Things for Returning Veterans to Learn

Returning to civilian life after military life isn’t easy. It takes some time to adjust to your new lifestyle and your new routines. One question that a lot of veterans face once they return home is “What’s next?” Finding a job after the military is often tough because vets can’t imagine themselves doing anything else. But luckily, there are a ton of jobs out there that are looking for veterans. You just might have to learn a few extra things in order to get the job. Here are some great things for vets to learn when they get home to help them land a job and improve their lives.

How to Start a Business

Before you start thinking about how to get a job, why not create a job? Many veterans are able to turn the skills they’ve acquired into starting their own business. What’s something you’re passionate about or have an interest in? Start exploring the possibilities and developing business ideas. From there you’ll just need to learn a few other things, like how to write up a business plan, how to secure funding, how to find a location for your business, and how to bring in customers/clients. Starting a business isn’t easy, but you wouldn’t have joined the military if you didn’t like a challenge.

How to Teach

A great post-service career for veterans is that of a teacher. Teachers are always in demand, and your skills learned during your service will make you an attractive hire. Many veterans are looking for ways to continue serving their community after they exit, and teaching is a great way to do this. To become a teacher, you’ll likely have to earn your degree or some teaching certifications. What you need will vary from state to state, so check out the rules in your local area. In the meantime you may be able to start substitute teaching so you can try it out and see if you like it.

How to do Construction

Some veterans would prefer to work with their hands, so learning how to do construction is a good choice for them. With construction work you get to spend the day doing tough labor, but at the end of the project there’s an enormous sense of pride. You may need some skills or certifications before you can begin, but these aren’t too tough to get. For instance, you could check out a local vocational school to learn things like welding. Or you could even get an online forklift certification. Think about what type of construction work you want to do, then look into the skills and certifications necessary to land a job doing it.

How to Manage Your Finances

Whatever job you get, it’s important that you learn how to manage your money properly. You don’t want to land a job and quickly find yourself in debt or realize too late that you didn’t plan well for your retirement. Look for some local classes in your area that can teach you about budgeting, saving and investing. These money management skills can then not only help you in your personal life, but you can even use them to land a job.

Computer Proficiency

These days many jobs are all about computers. Even a lot of entry-level jobs will require that you have proficiency in things like social media, spreadsheets or word processing tools.  To make your resume more attractive for whatever job you’re after, it’s good if you have some basic computer skills. Most areas offer classes either at schools or your library, or you can even find some online courses. Don’t worry if computers aren’t really your thing at the moment – mastering the basics isn’t too difficult. And who knows, you may develop a love for computers and end up getting a job like a computer systems analyst or web designer.

Mechanical Skills

Finally, another option for those of you who want to work with your hands is getting some mechanical skills. There are many jobs you can do where you’re fixing or installing machinery or equipment, but you’ll need some training before you do. Consider looking into becoming a certified HVAC technician, a mechanic, or even an electrician. You can do this through vocational schools or perhaps an apprenticeship program. Once you have these skills, combined with your military service, you’ll be an attractive hire for any business.

So, take some time to think about what type of job it is you’d like to do. Then get started acquiring the skills necessary to do it. The military gives you plenty of skills to get a job, but adding in a few extra never hurts.