Welcome to our Warriors Hope blog! This is Ken Patriquin, the Director. I thought that the first post should be to help you see how Warriors Hope started. Here is how God developed the passion and vision in me to start Warriors Hope in 2015.
My Passion and Vision for Warriors Hope After working at List Psychological Services as a therapist for a few years, an email came to me, from an organization called Give An Hour, that asked if I would give a “free” hour of therapy to post 911 Veterans and their families. I felt moved that maybe I could help them, after hearing what some of them had been experiencing. So, I said yes. Then, a few months later I was asked about helping the Wounded Warrior Project. They informed me of their Project Odyssey [PO] weekends for Veterans. These are high adventure weekends that help the Veterans who are struggling emotionally and are in pretty troubled situations. I love adventure-based counseling, having done it for years when I worked in a teen residential center. The Wounded Warrior Project approved me to be the “civilian” therapist at these weekends. I was a bit shocked because I did not have any military background. They wanted me to attend so that the warriors would know that there was a “civilian” therapist who cared.
By this time, I had started to develop a need to truly understand what Veterans were going through, so I could give them helpful counsel. At the PO the leader asked everyone, including support staff, why they were attending the weekend. So, I made a statement that many would say was a “scary” one. I told them that I knew nothing about Veterans and what they have gone through and truly would like to learn. Some of the Veterans asked if I sincerely wanted to know. I told them I did and then they shared some experiences with me that had been devastating for them. I was so affected that I could barely contain myself, emotionally. By the end of the weekend, I had made a decision that I had to “do something”! For many weeks later, I would return to the thought that I have to share with Veterans what I’ve learned about human nature, how to live healthy emotionally, and how to heal from the messes in our lives. I started seeking out Veteran friends in my small town. I was shocked that more and more Veterans would listen me, because of my passion to help in whatever way I could. They helped me come up with a name and a “tagline” to use when talking to people.
We came up with Warriors Hope. The tagline is: "Winning the Battle after the War". Warriors Hope began in 2015 and is now a 501c3 organization that is focused on helping Veterans and their families. As I heard of the rate of suicide among Veterans and/or military men & women - it broke my heart. I feel that these men and women and families have sacrificed their lives, livelihoods and family health for us; so how could we not do all that we can to help them. My commitment to every Veteran, family and former military with whom I work is that they will never have to pay for anything we ever do for them through Warriors Hope. We are committed to a number of things at Warriors Hope. We know that Veterans heal the best when they are in familiar and safe surroundings. So, we try to create events that they can attend that will help them connect to each other, have time to relax and let the stressors subside for a while and to reconnect with themselves, the environment and their loved ones.
We are not real large yet, but we want to meet whatever needs we can that are keeping the returning military and Veterans from healthy reintegration back into civilian life. I feel a personalcommitment to help those who come into contact with Warriors Hope to show them that we respect, care for, and honor them. I plan that, as we move forward, Warriors Hope will be an organization that will help many become effective again, become healthy in their relationships and families, and will truly feel that we have honored them for all that they have done. My greatest vision is to be changing the suicide rate “one vet at a time.”