11 Faith-Based Service Organizations for Veterans
Originally, called Armistice Day, Nov. 11th is the holiday that was set aside as a day of remembrance after the conflict of World War I. This was the first major global conflict the world had been exposed to, with modern technological weapons such as rockets, mortars, machine guns and toxic poisons being employed.
The hell these soldiers endured became etched into the collective conscience of so many, that the holiday was commemorated in hopes the world would never again engage in such bloodshed.
Since that time, over the years, from the bitter cold nights of a French countryside to dense tropical jungles of Korea and Vietnam, to the scorching deserts of the Middle East, faithful men and women have answered the call of their country when it came.
These sons and daughters left their homes and their families to serve in places where basic freedoms were being threatened and despicable tyrants often thrived. They trained. They did their jobs. They carried out their responsibilities until as long as the conflicts endured.
And then, when the hailstorm of bombs and bullets was finished, these brave men and women returned home. Too often they found themselves struggling to fit back into their society. Hundreds of thousands have turned to homelessness, alcohol or even suicide as a temporary remedy for the pain their hearts and minds battle each day. For these vets, war never ends.
While humanitarian organizations and government programs try to do what they can, there is a need for more effort. The Veterans Service Alliance is doing it’s best to fill in the gap for many families by offering effective faith-based programs designed to aid and promote the causes of veterans everywhere.
By aligning their lives to Biblical principles, many wounded warriors can, once again, successfully lead their families, their communities, and find restoration for their troubled souls. The organizations that make up VSA, both independently and through joint efforts, provide an “unstoppable force for good. “
WHAT ORGANIZATIONS MAKE UP THE VETERANS SERVICE ALLIANCE?
And what do they do?
Here’s a list to answer that question.
This organization was founded in 2011, as a faith-based operation to combat the growing number of suicides from those veterans having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was founded Dr. Damon and Dayna Friedman.
Damon, a retired Lt Colonel, within the Special Operations community, served for 20 years and encountered firsthand the battles that returning veterans grapple with, he understood the challenges warriors face. The core of this program is built around The Resiliency Project, which seeks to support the overall health of veterans, by addressing needs in four basic areas: psychological, physical, spiritual, and social wellness.
By helping veterans develop individual health and well-being treatment plans and then providing the emotional and physical support to achieve their goals, SOF Missions is making a difference. When you consider that every day, 22 more veterans will commit suicide, you can see how dire the situation truly is.
Founded in 2016 as a part of Network211, the original organization began as a purely evangelistic entity with a vision of reaching the world for Christ using modern technology. Since their inception, they have taken that goal to the military, presenly serving warriors in over 178 countries. Their desire is to see every veteran lead a wholesome and productive life centered around the gospel of Christ.
One of the unique features of the Warrior Journey are podcasts specifically designed to strengthen and support service members. Often, there are interviews with pastors who serve in cities with military installations, who can offer encouragement to the men and women stationed nearby.
The Warrior Journey partners with these churches so that when a veteran calls or writes with an issue, they are referred to a local body of believers as part of their healing plan. The Warrior Journey is a great resource for referrals to “partners” who can address almost any need a veteran has.
This organization offers a 12-week course in recovering from trauma and tragedy. The curriculum is faith-based with online resources available if a person cannot attend an onsite course. (Although over 34 states have locations). One of the distinct virtues of this ministry is their willingness to serve families of veterans and first responders.
Many times, when a veteran returns from deployment, they are not the only ones who may need healing. Reboot Recovery works with the entire family, to heal marriage relationships, offer parenting skills and dealing with the brokenness of the heart that is so often a part of the emotional wounds a warrior has.
The courses are offered at no cost to any participant. Because PTSD is often the trigger for addictive behaviors, such as drugs or alcohol, this organization works to intervene when VA and other programs have proven to be ineffective. The courses are peer-led and provide a safe environment for healing.
Their recent partnership with Carolina Panthers running back, Christian McCaffrey and his program 22 AND TROOPS will help this relatively new resource (less than 10 years) reach more first responders and service personnel than ever before.
This program is a ministry of small groups built around adventure excursions with active-duty personnel. Acknowledging the connection between the spiritual and physical, they seek to offer outdoor events that provide an opportunity for dynamic relationship building and restoration of the soul.
They believe that early intervention is critical to the success of dealing with PTSD. The environment of the wilderness in which they minister can create positive experiences for the servicemen and women to draw on. The ministry offers a variety of wilderness activities and adventures, such as rock climbing, trail riding, or other events.
They believe that the willingness to immerse oneself in the natural wonders of God’s creation is essential for healing and provides a safe place to build the trust of brotherhood and accountability so often needed in healing brokenness.
The Roever Foundation has a long and exciting history in support of public education, providing speakers to the US military, and educational assistance to wounded warriors, and their families. The desire is to engage military troops with a message of hope.
Primarily, they offer resources and financial assistance to servicemen and woman so that they can reconnect into society. The Roever Foundation has provided thousands of scholarships to students primarily in Vietnam, but also to students in secondary education seeking degrees in a variety of subjects.
One of the hallmarks of this organization is the development of medical facilities in Vietnam along with providing supplies, such as medicine and wheelchairs and the like. The Roever Foundation is responsible for a great deal of humanitarian work in Vietnam, partnering with the Red Cross by offering free medical care and clothing to almost 200 million Vietnamese children.
This organization works to offer educational and counseling resources for those who suffer from the effect of PTSD. The ministry offers a Resiliency Formation Training Series which educates military and first responder trauma survivors and provides them with a precision-targeted, personalized training plan.
The organization also offers a variety of therapy options, including Equines for the Front Lines. This therapy is found in north-central Texas and offers an environment of safety and relaxation in a small group setting. There is no cost for the program and no experience with horses is needed.
This organization is formulated around the ministry of Major General (Retired) Robert F. “Bob” Dees who served for 31 years in the U.S. Army in a wide variety of command and staff positions. Major General Dees travels around the country speaking on trauma to combat the growing threat PTSD causes our troops and first responders.
There are a variety of resources available, including books and videos, sold through their website. The ministry is Christian biblically based and is unapologetically so. The fundamental belief is that without relevant biblical truth the nation is lost, and resilience and restoration are impossible.
This ministry is designed to provide spiritual healing and peer support for Combat Veterans of all conflicts and all faiths. The work is primarily with those who have attempted suicide or are on a path of self-destruction and includes strenuous physical activity.
Basically, for one year, each participant joins a small group of about 15 along with two life coaches participate in basic life renewing skills in Israel. Each member is expected to make a one-year commitment to live alcohol/drug free while striving to learn emotional stability.
The project pushes each member physically believing that there is a connection between the spiritual, emotional, social, and physical. The services are provided at no cost, except for the needed passport for their time in Israel.
The Mission of the PTSD Foundation of America is a program designed to bring hope and healing to Combat Veterans and their families who are suffering from the effects of combat-related Post Traumatic Stress.
The ministry uses a wholistic approach, by offering peer mentoring and center on focusing on the journey to healing. In addition, this organization works with partners to increase the public awareness of trauma so that additional resources can be secured and implemented.
One of the hallmarks of the ministry is Camp Hope, which provides interim housing for veterans as a step toward integrating them back into society. This is one of the only facilities of its kind in the United States, offering counseling to residents and a safe place to deal with the destructive effects they are facing.
To date, some 1348 veterans have completed the Camp Hope program. One interesting way that supporters can help is by donating money “to sponsor a meal” and that information can be found on their website.
Partnering with the SOF, The Resiliency Project, The Warriors Journey, and Reboot Recovery, this ministry offers hope and healing to countless veterans through mentorship and small groups. The organization uses faith-based principles to guide and direct veterans toward recovery.
While their emphasis is on reducing the number of suicides, they also offer an online chapel featuring speakers who can share their own stories and journeys. These videos are a powerful tool toward wholeness and can be used as a starting point. The online chapel is a great place to start even for those who might be interested in learning more about PTSD.
This ministry partners with several of the programs listed above to offer hope and restoration for veterans and their families. Designed as a clearing house to find adequate resources, the ministry prepares a detailed and structured individual learning plan.
Believing that the private sector can more easily gain and direct resources than governmental programs, this ministry raises public awareness of PTSD. In addition, this organization offers a program named Valor Farm, located in AltaVista, VA.
This 339-acre farm offers a natural healing environment for homeless veterans to slowly and easily reintegrate back into society without undue stress or trauma.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
There are a variety of ways that you can support the Veteran’s Service Alliance. You can follow any of the links above to learn more about the individual programs and donate to the cause.
You can schedule a conference in your local church, many of the above organizations are available for speaking engagements. You can adopt a ministry through the mission program of your church or organization on an ongoing basis.
As our nation stops to reflect on the sacrifice of the men and women who have so valiantly served our nation, let’s not forget those who are homeless, struggling and in desperate need of a helping hand.
The truth is that you and I can be Jesus to one veteran or first responder, and in doing so, possibly change a person’s life by bringing the healing power of Christ to them and their families.