Shepherd's Men Run
The cost of war is oblivious to the Americans who have never served in a combat zone. However, there are veterans and active duty service members who are suffering from the invisible wounds of war. One in five service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan requires treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
TBI is a complex injury with a series of symptoms and disabilities that has a calamitous impact on the service members and their families. A dire consequence of a traumatic brain injury is most often that the veteran does not have any recollection that a brain injury occurred. Unlike a broken limb, TBI and PTS require extensive treatment and therapy to overcome the mental and physical challenges of the injury. The rehabilitation process for TBI and PTS can become frustrating to the veteran and the families who care for them. It is additionally emotional to the veteran to maneuver through government medical agencies that lack experience to treat traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. For some veterans, the burden can be too much to bear and they are ready to give up. The Shepherds Men want veterans who suffer from TBI and PTS to know that the SHARE Military Initiative (“SHARE”) at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia works.
SHARE is a comprehensive continuum of rehabilitative care for U.S. Service Members injured in post 9/11 conflicts who suffer from TBI complicated with PTS. SHARE provides the resources and tools to eliminate or reduce the symptoms of these injuries and successfully return the veterans to their homes, families, and communities. SHARE offers a broad continuum of care, specifically tailored to meet the needs of each veteran, including housing, physical, occupational, vocational, speech therapies, and life counseling. SHARE also provides medical care, pain management, and other specialized services. The SHARE program typically serves eight to ten clients at a time through a 12-week program. All activities are housed in one centralized location and conducted by the same medical and rehabilitation team, so that all aspects of a client’s care work collaboratively, as opposed to the fragmented systems our clients have often experienced. Finally, SHARE graduates are assigned a case manager who works with them in their home communities and follows their progress, post-discharge, to ensure that they are meeting their goals.
The Shepherd Center receives little to no compensation from external sources to fund SHARE. Most SHARE clients do not have private insurance to cover the cost of the treatment. SHARE is extremely dependent on donor funds to effectively operate the program. Approximately four years ago, a group of men, known as the Shepherd’s Men, formed to raise awareness about the veteran suicide epidemic plaguing the United States and to raise monetary support for SHARE. The Shepherd’s Men are committed to sharing the burden for our heroes and letting every veteran dealing with his or her injuries know that their brothers and sisters care about them. Shepherd’s Men have raised more than $1.2 million since the group’s inception in 2014.
Shepherd’s Men started their 2017 campaign on May 22, 2017, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at the Flight 93 Memorial Site. The first day of the run was symbolic as each team member wore 93 pounds to honor the heroes of Flight 93. The weight was distributed in a 71-pound rucksack and a 22-pound vest that signifies the veterans who take their lives every day. The men and women on Flight 93 were ordinary citizens who realized something needed to be done in order to save lives. Their actions were extraordinary and demonstrated the power of Americans standing together against evil. The Shepherd’s Men are standing together and fighting for veterans who are dealing with injuries that are incomprehensible to the average citizen. The goal of Shepherd’s Men in 2017 is to raise $2.2 million for SHARE. This will enable the Shepherd Center to operate the SHARE program for a full year at no cost to the veteran receiving this life-saving treatment. It is incumbent of every American to support all veterans that defend the liberties that are enjoyed by all. Freedom is not free; however, our veterans and service members have paid your share. Help Share the Burden of our veterans and contribute to SHARE.
To donate, please visit ShepherdsMen.com.
Walter Marques is a member of Shepherd’s Men.
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