We exist because being outside helped us create a new focus and new meaning in our own lives to deal with the problems we all face as veterans and we want to replicate that experience for others. If we, as veterans and as a larger community, don’t do something about it, all that’s going to happen is the rate in which veterans take their own lives, end up in prison, homeless, depressed, and wondering how they went from being a part of the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, to living on a street, under a bridge, begging for food and begging for booze will increase. Don’t believe me? Check the statistics.
We do not care if a veteran is disabled or not, a man or a woman, or when he or she served. We care that a veteran is a veteran and will work with any veteran wherever they are, to get them outside, to take the next step up the trail, reach for the next hand hold on the rock, and take the next paddle in the river. We will tap back into the warrior ethos we, as veterans, so often desperately miss in civilian life. We will summit with you or we will struggle with you. We will do it together and we will tell our story.
When we started, we did not want to use the word healing, because that word is taboo in some parts of the veteran community and for good reason. No one wants to hear they need healing if they don’t believe they’re hurt. But let’s be honest, our community as veterans is at risk. Still, we won’t ever tell a veteran they need healing, or that they’re hurt because not every veteran is, but every veteran deserves a chance to be outside. When we’ve come down off the mountain, or dragged our boats out of a river after six beautiful but exhausting days, veterans, however, tell us that healing happened.
You should care because we are your community. We are your brothers and sisters. We pass you by everyday on the street, the sidewalk, in subways and freeways and we sit in the office next to yours. We served in your Army, in your Marine Corps, your Navy, your Air Force, your Coast Guard. We are, quite literally your Veterans.
There are 200,000 veterans returned from our most recent wars already and too many veterans left over on the streets from Vietnam and the Cold War. With the wars winding down, our nation will soon receive hundreds and thousands more veterans coming home.
On 9/11/01, our nation rightfully mourned when 2,998 victims died in one single terrorist attack. We swore never again. However, due to suicide alone, our veteran population is repeating the same casualty rate every five and a half months once they return from service.
The VA is not capable of handling the entire problem, which is why we are here and which is why we need your help, in dollars, in time, in resources, in outreach, in leadership, in guidance, in a challenge rather than a charity. Donate what you can in any way you can. This is not a cause du jour, but can be the start of a long term effort to break the status quo.
We need your help at Veterans Expeditions, but there are other organizations out there. They just have different answers to the same questions, and they may be a better fit for you and your talents than Veterans Expeditions.
Please, get involved.