Operation Second Chance is celebrating 10 years of service to our wounded, injured and ill Veterans, and we are reminded daily that our mission must continue. When we turn on the news, we hear that the war is winding down. Yet the reality of what we really need to hear more of is despite the fact that the war is winding down, ‘wounds last a lifetime’. Our families need us now more than ever! It is estimated that 1 in 5 Veterans suffer from PTS. Notice I left off the ‘D’. Even though the ‘D’ stands for disorder, I personally believe that the final letter should be ‘I’ for injury.
Post-traumatic stress can affect anyone that has had personal experience with a tragic event. Smells, sounds, anniversary dates and other related circumstances can trigger flashbacks, nightmares, and increased emotions just to name a few. Back-to-back deployments have also taken a toll on our Veterans. War does not discriminate. When a family member is wounded, those wounds trickle down to the youngest members of the family. At Operation Second Chance (OSC), we are doing our best to change lives and to help our heroes move on with dignity and love. We continue to provide emergency financial assistance for a wide range of needs from rent and utility payments to travel and groceries. We provide awesome retreats and day trips to get our Veterans out of the hospital. We offer caregiver spa days, family bowling nights and so much more. We have maintained the ‘grassroots’ approach and never want to lose sight of where we came from or where we are going.
Private fundraising efforts continue to be the main source of our funding. Our Ride Allegheny (RA) partners has risen more than 1 million dollars since joining OSC in 2005. We commend their incredible efforts. We understand that service to those who have served begins at home and within each of us. The members of RA give so much of their time, energy and funds to help OSC help our heroes move on.
My life has been so blessed over the years. Not a day passes when I don’t cry for our Veterans and wish I could do even more. I love our Veterans for all they stand for. I love our Veterans for their selflessness, their service and their sacrifice, and we will never forget those Veterans that paid the ultimate price for our freedom, or the families that mourn them. It is with heartfelt thanks that I thank everyone that supports Operation Second Chance and our Veterans. May God continue to richly bless America and those that serve our great Nation.