Military Connection: New way to Help Wounded Vets by Joe Silva

hotgAs a Veteran, I feel fortunate to live in a time when the American public truly appreciates our military Veterans. Americans feel an even greater responsibility in providing for wounded Veterans, those whose lives will never be the same as a result of their service and sacrifice.

The average citizen who wants to do more for wounded Veterans and their families may not know where to donate or how to help. There are numerous organizations working to improve the lives of our military, once they have completed their service. One non-profit that I can highly recommend is Heels on the Ground (HOTG).

HOTG co-founder Allison Hughes is a former Army Blackhawk pilot, current MBA student, and mother of two rambunctious little boys. Allison is also the primary caregiver for her husband, Special Forces Officer Breg Hughes.  In May, 2012, MAJ Hughes was critically wounded, receiving 3rd degree burns to 50% of his body in an IED strike while serving in Afghanistan. Hughes spent four months in the hospital, including two months in the ICU.

Hughes partnered with former Army officer Katherine Malavenda, a Licensed Professional Counselor with extensive experience working with military families. This Veteran dynamic duo created HOTG with the mission to “improve and enrich the quality of life for caregivers of America’s wounded soldiers by providing local support networks, workshops and holistic retreats.”

The non-profit provides continual support for caregivers, often spouses and family members of wounded war Veterans. HOTG guides caregivers through the healing process, while empowering them to maintain their own well-being so that they can thrive in the face of their challenges. As the caregivers thrive, so will those around them.

Through personal experience and education,  Allison and Katherine have recognized that caregivers, like their charges, face enormous pressures and make tremendous sacrifices.  Yet there are few options and resources for caregivers. HOTG firmly believes that the benefits of peer support groups, education, personal goal setting, meditation, relaxation and physical wellness can greatly improve a caregiver’s ability to cope with stress.  HOTG’s holistic approach combines these methods to promote health and well-being within the caregiver community.

Heels on the Ground hopes to raise $50,000 to cover the cost of hosting 60 caregivers at their first retreat. The retreat will include wellness seminars and classes on stress management, yoga, and meditation. It will also give attendees the opportunity to establish support networks with those who share this common bond. The money will also help HOTG host webinars and establish local support chapters, live quarterly workshops and future retreats.

If you’re looking for a meaningful way to say, “Thanks you for your service,” you have the opportunity to help wounded Veterans by supporting those who love and take care of these heroes 365 days each year. You can also help by spreading the word about Heels on the Ground by posting it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

DONATE to HOTG here. You can also help by spreading the word about the Heels on the Ground campaign: Post about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Military Connection: New way to Help Wounded Vets! By Joe Silva