I’m a proud board member of Healing the Wounds, a charitable organization that has been chartered to support and mentor the forgotten children of America’s fallen heroes. Needless to say, few of us can fathom the horror, pain and suffering that the children of fallen soldiers have been forced to endure. Sadly, most will carry their emotional scars well into adulthood. They will struggle from feelings of sadness, anger and depression throughout their lives.
While much of society is laser-focused on what is wrong, Healing the Wounds was created to focus on the possible — to brighten futures through a positive, solutions-based initiative designed to build character, self-confidence and leadership skills.
Our program starts with introducing teenagers to an awe-inspiring, educational adventure in the Alaskan wilderness. The experience is conducted under the supervision of experienced professionals — folks who share my enthusiasm and love for the outdoors. Concurrently, the teens will be exposed to potential career paths in a dozen marketable disciplines. Year-round support will continue through a call-in center and various educational components hosted during the winter months. The goal is to prepare the children of our fallen for adulthood. In doing so, we will help contribute to the next generation of independent, successful and responsible citizens (and they will be environmentally-conscious, stewards of the land).
One of the many reasons I am supporting the Healing the Wounds project is that this country has seen an increase of urban and suburban dwellers. Kids don’t see the woods as much. Often, the wealthier folks don’t have time and the middle class folks don’t have the dime to take their kids out and teach them about nature. This is frequently the case for families of those who serve with both parents working to make ends meet.
With one parent missing from that equation, the problem is exacerbated — not only by the loss of time and dime to do anything for and with the kids, by the struggling and surviving parent, but the additional pain, suffering and loss of both the family member, as well as the support that was lost with their sacrifice.
When these folks who pay the ultimate price for serving are taken from us, there is a tremendous void in the lives of their children. These are usually great kids following in the steps of their parents. Often these kids become exposed to many pitfalls of life such as drugs and depression as a negative coping mechanisms.
What Healing the Wounds does is to help these kids and society on many levels.
Getting the children into a new environment and out of the sad and lonely space is a first step.
Teaching these teenagers outdoor skills their lost parent might have taught helps reconnect them to nature, peace, life, family, people and society as a whole. It’s an old fashioned notion in a modern era of psychotherapy and mental medication where we simply remind the kids of what the world has to offer, what life is really all about, to help them go through the grieving process and appreciate the cycle of life.
The end result will be healthier, happier children who can return to society, grow and contribute with a better attitude.
The bottom line is that Healing the Wounds is one of the best ways to help the children of heroes who paid the ultimate price defending American freedom.
Mykel Hawke is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer and a television personality. You help the children of America’s fallen heroes by visiting Healing the Wounds here.
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