By Thomas Bognanno
President & CEO, Community Health Charities
Not All Battles are Fought in a War Zone
Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Dale Beatty remembers the day his life changed forever. On November 15, 2004, Dale was injured when an IED explosion flipped his Humvee, causing him to lose both legs. “It’s amazing how clear everything becomes when you think your next breath could be your last,” Dale says.
After sacrificing and serving our country, heroes like Dale deserve to have every opportunity – for good health, for support and for employment – when they return home. But unfortunately, that is not always the case. The Hero’s Health Fund, managed by Community Health Charities, connects the most trusted health charities with caring donors who want to make a difference in the lives of first responders, military service members, veterans and their families.
For Dale and so many others like him, the return home can be just as challenging as their time on the battlefront. It’s often a matter of healing the wounds we can’t see – nearly one of every four active duty military members shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or other mental health conditions. The threat of suicide remains unusually high. Returning to civilian life can be a time of joy, but also a time of emotional upheaval for the entire family. And for those with loved ones who never make it home, the healing process must begin.
Whether their injuries are physical, mental or both, the families who care for these heroes need a tremendous amount of support. Thanks to Fisher House Foundation, a participating charity in the Hero’s Health Fund, Dale’s wife Belinda and his children were able to stay by his side throughout the recovery and rehabilitation process. “Living in the Fisher House was home away from home,” Belinda says. “I was never alone and I could always talk to someone – you’re surrounded by love.”
Dale’s story has a happy ending. Today, he plays in a band, golfs and works to help other veterans. But he isn’t sure what would have happened if he hadn’t received help. “Without Fisher House, I don’t know what my prognosis would have been, or where I would be now not having my family next to me,” he says. “I remain forever grateful.”
The Hero Health’s Fund supports these fully-vetted and trusted organizations:
Fisher House Foundation – Lodging for veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers
March of Dimes – Support for active duty military families, especially during pregnancy and when baby arrives
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Support for veterans with PTSD, depression and other mental health conditions
National Hospice and Palliative Care – Compassionate care for veterans at the end of life
Operation Restored Warrior – Healing programs for veterans and their families
Pet Partners – Therapy pets and animal-assisted interventions
Snowball Express – Serves and connects the children of fallen military heroes
Our military fights for us – let’s fight for them. To learn more about Community Health Charities and how the Hero’s Health Fund supports the mental and physical health of our nation’s heroes, please visit corp.healthcharities.org/hero.
We are also hosting a special Veterans Health session on November 16 at the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Citizenship Conference in Washington, DC: Exploring Cross-Sector Collaboration to Advance Military, Veterans and First Responders’ Health. We’ll kick off the event with a keynote by First Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and then an interactive panel moderated by Fox News Anchor Heather Nauert. The panel will feature Major General (retired) Mark Graham, Brigadier General (retired) Allyson Solomon, Marianne Downs from Lockheed and Kerri Childress, a Navy veteran and VP of Communications for Fisher House. Join us to hear more about the mental and physical health of our veterans and what we can do to help.
About the Author
Thomas G. Bognanno, President & CEO of Community Health Charities, works with a network of nearly 2,000 trusted health charities across the country. The organization leverages health nonprofits with the overall wellness
and philanthropic strategies needed to engage employees in health initiatives, raise awareness and deploy critical funds for their charities – www.healthcharities.org.