After our Wounded Warrior Operation Mountain Freedom event I followed Retired LT. Gen T.S. Jones (affectionately known as Tough Shit!) back to his turf in Boswell, PA for his own Wounded Warrior event Semper Fi Odyssey.
This transformational camp implemented a tried and tested regime, developed by T.S. himself, to help get the 35 attending Wounded Warriors back on track. Everything was choreographed with precision and meaning and not a moment was wasted as the entire program is designed to help the Wounded Warrior become accountable for their next phase in life in order to transition back to a civilian lifestyle with purpose and direction.
A team leader with military experience, and speaking their language, led each group of 5 or 6 Warriors, as T.S. challenged (or maybe even ordered?) each Wounded Warrior to identify specific goals to help them achieve success. Dan Pultz as Senior Team Leader was inspiring, determined, and passionate and it seemed like his Warriors never wanted to leave the table, gleaning everything they could from him.
The men all responded to the call for action! They announced their goal, where they wanted to achieve it, what their obstacles were and whom they wanted on their “fire team.” The fire team is a four-person support team, who has their back in case they begin feeling despair, depression, or thoughts of suicide. And T.S. passionately pledged to be on everyone’s fire team, promising to fly out to help anyone who was feeling the urge to do something drastic, like end their life!
This was hard emotional work for the Wounded Warriors. But mindfulness, relaxation and de-stressing were also integral elements taught and practiced throughout the week. Yoga was a key component, led by a phenomenal teacher who was well versed in dealing with the military, PTSD, TBI and other physical challenges. And an inside ropes challenge course and TRX training were the antidotes to sitting and working through emotional barriers. I personally saw Warriors change throughout the week, as they gained hope and purpose for their lives!
T.S. Jones is on the advisory board of the National Wounded Warrior Center. He runs his Outdoor Odyssey for at-risk youth and the Semper Fi Odyssey Wounded Warrior Camps are hosted and sponsored by the Semper Fi Fund.
Watch video below to learn what Odyssey Event attendees Julian and Paul have to say:
Let’s keep the ball rolling and thank you to everyone for your kind words of support and donations. What a great country we live in and our Wounded Warriors will benefit from your efforts!
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Kathy Copeland ©2015
National Wounded Warrior Center
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546