A bridge interrupted the road my convoy traveled on February 19, 2007. On that bridge, a buried detonator led to the charge beneath our vehicle and the subsequent explosion and loss of human life. Unlike the enemy, the American soldier and patriot does not destroy bridges; he or she builds them. In the life I have been given, my goal is to assist warrior veterans and their families in locating the resources they need for recovery.
Through compassionate assistance, hearts will be opened and healed. I’m providing a list of organizations that have been beneficial to me and my family. This is by no means an exhaustive list; it represents the kindness, generosity, and ingenuity of many thousands of Americans who support our veterans. Help is out there. We are living proof.
Shilo’s Top Picks
Boundless Spirit International
Boundless Spirit teaches how to embrace Freedom, find Joy, and seek Adventure in their everyday lives.
Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
The mission of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes is to help severely-wounded veterans and families of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom recover from their injuries and illnesses, and to inspire other organizations and the general public to participate in this effort. They offer emergency financial aid, holiday gift programs, public outreach, and many other worthwhile initiatives to aid America’s servicemen and women.
The Patriot Project
This grassroots movement is rapidly expanding to provide chiropractic care to all active military, wounded warriors, and their families. Their motto is “They Served…We Support” and they are doing just that.
Helping a Hero
Meredith Iler leads this organization’s Wounded Hero Home Program, and was instrumental in putting us on the path to receive our new home. The group works to evaluate modifications needed in the home so that whatever adaptations are necessary for recovery are in place. Their pledge to serve quadriplegics, paraplegics, and amputees is remarkable.
Children of military service members including those wounded or killed in combat need our support. GI helps military families at no cost to them by providing funds and critical programs to put young people on the path to educational and career success. Donations to GI directly impact children of America’s heroes.
Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities
This program began under the Small Business Administration and Syracuse University and is offered in consortium through several universities around the country, to include Texas A&M University. It’s designed to help wounded warriors establish a new or revised career path for themselves, and it did that for me. Contact TAMU Foundation, Mays EBV Program, 401 George Bush. Dr, College Station, TX 77840.
Military Child Education Coalition
(MCEC) militarychild.org offers information and assistance to help military families ensure that every military child affected by mobility issues, family separation, and difficult transitions is still going to receive a quality education.
If you want to make a donation of time, talent, or treasure, this is one organization that absolutely makes every dollar stretch to serve the needs of the military. Kathreyn received the generosity of the Fisher House organization each time she needed housing during my frequent hospitalizations.
Patriots and Heroes Outdoors
Connects wounded warriors and avid hunters, fishermen, and outdoorsmen to promote healing through recreation. Army veteran Billy Hodges founded Hunts for Heroes, which has morphed into Patriots and Heroes Outdoors. Hundreds of sporting enthusiasts support this organization to offer wounded warriors a short respite from treatment and recovery. They sponsor an annual program, MSGT Gonzales Memorial Fishing Event to offer fishing activities to wounded veterans and their families.
Hire Our Hero
Hire Our Hero lists dozens of local contractors from numerous skilled trades that you can trust to come to your rescue. Local military, fire, police, and EMT owned businesses within the database have undergone an extensive background check, business history review, and provided past client referrals. Browse this database completely free of charge and hire a hero for your next job! It works a lot like Angie’s List, if you’re familiar with that resource. Give the database time—it is brand new!
Brandon Bunch, CEO, is a patriot who served with the US Marines in Iraq on two rotations, and is currently a firefighter/paramedic for the City of Austin. His love of entrepreneurship led him to this growing business.
Patriots and Heroes Outdoors
Dave Roever experienced catastrophic wounds in Vietnam in 1969. His recovery at BAMC mirrors my own. I have been blessed to know him, and support his mission and ministry. Eagle’s Summit Ranch – a must for wounded warriors. His site has many resources for employment for veterans. Check it out!
KAMO Adventures believes in providing a safe, supportive, and friendly environment where wounded U.S. service members can assist each other in the healing process, both mentally and physically. Through outdoor hunting experiences unique to each wounded veteran’s needs and abilities, KAMO is dedicated to serving and honoring our returning wounded heroes. KAMO Adventures is a completely volunteer-run facility.
Show of Support Military Hunt, Inc.
Started by Terry Johnson in 2004, this organization provides outdoor activities for injured service members and their families. There’s no such thing as an empty hunt; everyone goes home with a trophy buck. SOS pays for processing and mounting, and my trophy is on my living room wall.
This organization assists wounded warriors with follow-up plastic or reconstructive surgery to assist us in returning to the look that represents our “new normal”.
The International Franchising Association sponsors a strategic initiative that offers member companies financial incentives, mentoring, and training for veterans who want to own their own business. Started in 1991 by Don Dwyer of the Dwyer Group, this organization has helped more than 2,100 veterans become franchisees, including me!
Russ Murphy Ministries
Russ travels across the country ministering to warriors and their families through his gifts of music and pastoral care. He has been a true friend to me.
This foundation grew from the abundant heart and generosity of Ron Kocian, whose desire to honor wounded warriors and their families has resulted in a huge annual fishing event. From the time warriors arrive at Houston’s International Airport until they travel through Victoria, Texas to Port O’Connor, veterans are welcomed with flags and heartfelt appreciation. The entire community contributes to a perfect weekend of fishing, food, and fellowship. This event changes hundreds of lives every year.
10th Mountain Division
The Army’s 10th Mountain Division is my military home. Their organization has been active for decades, and supports its soldiers and their families through many activities, events, and scholarship programs.
Sons of the Flag
Sons of the Flag provides surgical programs, research and development funding, burn fellowships & education, and direct burn survivor support.
Center for the Intrepid
I spent hundreds of hours at the CFI, working on physical and occupational therapy, as well as reaching out to other wounded warriors. Rehabilitation for service members with amputations, burns, or functional limb loss is their mission. The center sponsors education and research initiatives across the full spectrum of recovery. The high-tech environment provides many labs and therapies to enable every veteran to rehabilitate. Funded by private donations at inception, it is now an integral part of SAMMC, with the Army funding its day-to-day operations. A state- of-the art, state-of-the-heart facility. I would not have reached my level of recovery without the CFI.