Renewal through meditation

Imagine a simple, personal, non-pharmacological tool for veterans, proven by research to achieve a 40% reduction in the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression, a 42% decrease in insomnia, and a 30% improvement in satisfaction with quality of life. Veterans in Northeast Ohio are being given that tool through a grant from the Resurrecting Lives Foundation, in conjunction with the David Lynch Foundation: one-on-one training in meditation.
Since October, RLF has partnered with the Lynch Foundation to enable veterans in the Ohio cities of Columbus and Canton to take part in this life-changing training at no cost. RLF’s grant was made possible through the generous donations of people and businesses around the country. David Kidd, the instructor for these Ohio courses, is himself an Army veteran who found that meditation eased his transition from military life following the war in Vietnam.

“After two tours in Vietnam, at age 20 I returned to the USA,” he said. “I started college, but was unable to concentrate, had insomnia, nightmares, night sweats, hyper-vigilance, daytime hallucinations and flashbacks, a constant low-grade paranoia, social alienation, and an inability to feel positive emotions. Then a friend took me to a … meditation class. I took the course. I saw many benefits in the first week, and within three months could see my life had changed dramatically. In my first year of meditating, 90% of my stress symptoms were completely gone. So I decided to become a teacher and offer it to other veterans. I’ve now been teaching meditation for 43 years.”

Over the last few months, 12 Ohio vets have applied for and received the individualized training. Says one veteran, “I am the recipient of one of the grants for veterans for … meditation. I just wanted to thank you guys for providing the grants, and I want you to know it’s working for me, and it’s amazing. Thank you guys so much. I’m very grateful.”
Meditation has been found to reduce the physical symptoms of stress in addition to bringing calmness and resilience to the mind. The David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness has brought this peace to hundreds of vets.
There are still some remaining opportunities for this RLF-sponsored training for vets in Columbus or Canton, Ohio during January and February, on a first-come basis as spaces are available. If you are interested in applying, please contact RLF at info@resurrectinglives.org or by phone at (614) 602-1753, or contact David Kidd directly at dkidd@tm.org.

Photography by Jason Savage

Using bytes to heal the brain

Injuries to a veteran’s brain can be invisible… even when the symptoms start showing up: memory and attention issues, difficulty planning and organizing, understanding speech or complex reading materials. These symptoms aren’t like an obvious wound that needs sutures; instead, they linger in the background and infect the veteran’s well-being and re-integration. And because they wait in the background, they often wait undiagnosed and untreated.

A key mission of the Resurrecting Lives Foundation is to focus attention on those “hidden” wounds, and heal them through proper diagnosis and prompt treatment. Now, a new grant from RLF is enabling veterans in both Wood County and Akron, Ohio who suspect they are living with the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to participate in no-cost comprehensive speech/ language/ cognitive evaluations and treatment plans, which will take advantage of technology to deliver the services in part virtually, via what’s known as telehealth.

“Telehealth” uses the telecommunications technologies long used in education and business to enhance health care and health education. The US Veterans Administration stresses that using these technologies “helps ensure veteran patients get the right care in the right place at the right time,” enabling the specialist and the patient to link together where it might not be possible physically.

At the University of Akron School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Dr. K. Todd Houston and an interdisciplinary team have embarked on a project, in collaboration with the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, to use telehealth opportunities to help diagnose and heal veterans’ cognitive, social, and listening skills to ease the transition to post-military life. RLF’s grant will support up to 20 veterans to participate, often using video or web conferencing to deliver services in what Houston calls a “virtual therapy room.” The project has completed planning and piloting with veterans in the student community, and is about to push the services out to veterans in the UA wider community.

In Wood County, RLF has provided a grant through the Wood County Veterans Assistance Center to enable up to 20 more veterans to receive evaluations and treatment programs. Mary Hanna, Executive Director of the Veterans Assistance Center, and Donna Colcord, Clinic Director at the Bowling Green State University Speech and Hearing Clinic, have partnered to execute the grant for area veterans. The BGSU Speech and Hearing Clinic has offered similar services before, but not for veterans. The Center and the Clinic are now recruiting candidates, who may participate in the regular treatment sessions through teleconference, via a tablet, or in person.
RLF is committed to finding and removing barriers for veterans to recover from brain injuries; lack of access or exposure to appropriate health services is a common obstacle. Through these grants, new services are being defined to extend diagnosis and treatment through telecommunications, so that even the invisible wounds can be healed.

From the Board: Stan Crader

Is it really 2018? I remember reading the book 1984 and thinking that year so far away. In the midst of the Cold War, few gave the idea of reaching the turn of the century much thought. However, here we are, over 50 years later, and we’ve survived the Cold War. Fortunately, the stop-drop-and-roll exercises we practiced in school and the civil defense sirens were never necessary. While the enemy never came and nuclear destruction never occurred, America’s men and women in uniform continued to answer the call to defend freedom throughout the world. It’s to them we owe an enormous debt. Freedom comes with a cost. Many of them paid a high price and now need our help. Each of us must find a way to plug in and do our part to help those who have done so much on our behalf.

Once I realized how fortunate I was to have come of age in rural Missouri during the 1960s, and that everyone in the entire world hadn’t had the same experience, I had to tell the story. So far the story has been revealed in a series of three novels and one non-fiction book. My novels are meant to entertain and provoke the reader’s memory. The non-fiction was written to honor those who set the stage for me. There’s more to be told. I was blessed early on and the blessings continue to flow.

Providential happenstance led me to Dr. Gordon (Chrisanne) and Resurrecting Lives Foundation during my search for a veteran’s organization to which I could donate the proceeds of book sales. An acquaintance, who was then president of a firm that represented a large veterans’ organization, and unbeknownst to me a high school classmate of Chrisanne, suggested I direct the book’s proceeds to an organization that was just then taking shape, Resurrecting Lives. He gave me Chrisanne’s phone number. I dialed the number, Chrisanne was expecting the call, we introduced ourselves and then I listened. Those who know Chrisanne understand. Her passionate explanation of the need and the organization’s mission was clear and compelling.

The introduction to RLF turned out to be more than a place to which I could funnel book sales proceeds. Once one is introduced to Chrisanne, they need to buckle up. Passive isn’t in Chrisanne’s lexicon. Soon thereafter I was drafted to participate on the board. RLF board meetings are unconventional, more like a track meet than a button-downed, tightly scripted series of preordained conclusions. RLF board meetings include a variety of vigorous discussions, each with a common goal: the restoration of America’s finest who have been wounded on our behalf.

I’ve enjoyed a rich experience during my association with Resurrecting Lives. RLF has a laser focus: traumatic brain injury (TBI). I’ve found that while serving on boards I often receive more benefit than I provide. While my goal is to contribute to the organization’s success, I often sense that my gain in knowledge of the organization’s mission exceeds my meager contribution. This is certainly the case with RLF. Few things in life exceed the sense of fulfillment of helping America’s finest enjoy a way of life they’ve secured for me.

The mission of RLF is the resurrection of a hero and the strengthening of a nation. I’m more excited about this year for RLF than ever before. I sense the addition of new high quality and enthusiastic staff will facilitate the deepening of existing relationships with organizations that share RLF’s goals and will ultimately make an enduring difference in America, one treasured life at a time. I challenge readers to identify how they can join in and contribute to the restoration of America’s finest to a life they’ve won for others and richly deserve for themselves.

Stan Crader, a long-standing member of the RLF Board of Directors, is an author, lecturer, community leader, businessman, and president of Crader Distributing Company. Learn more at https://www.stancrader.com/

Bringing the light

On a typical December day in Anchorage, Alaska, the sun decides to show itself by about 10:15 am… and goes away before 4 pm. Not even six hours of sunlight. Lack of exposure to sunshine is a documented detriment to human health, leading to vitamin D deficiencies, winter blues, and seasonal affective disorder. But for the 5,500 US Air Force, Army, and civilian personnel at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson, it’s just another aspect to duty.
About a year ago, Billy Chisum, an Onsite Customer Service Representative at Elmendorf-Richardson for Cardinal Health, had the idea that light therapy might ease the stress for him and his fellow veterans brought on by so little sunlight. “I was in a dark funk and was willing to try anything including vitamin D supplements,” he said. Chisum is a 10-year veteran of the Air Force, having served three combat deployments, and is now active in the veteran community helping others that suffer with MST, PTSD and TBI.
He connected with the Resurrecting Lives Foundation and received a Philips Sleep and Wake-Up Light HF3500 so that he could study it first-hand. Chisum used it from October to April, and found its benefits so remarkable that he was asked by RLF to work on a larger initiative. Through a grant from the Foundation, 20 Philips lights were distributed to veterans in the Elmendorf-Richardson community, with the promise that the effect of the lights on their PTSD/TBI would be recorded and studied for the larger veteran community.
That study is still in process, but initial feedback from the testing veterans is positive.
RLF is focused on easing the way for veterans recovering from TBI, and it appears that plugging in light therapy is another successful way to bring our vets with brain injuries out of the shadows.

Photography by Jason Savage

Hearts of STIHL

Six Resurrecting Lives Foundation partner veterans were recognized in December as “Hearts of STIHL” recipients by STIHL, Inc:

• Matt Gossard, Ohio (U. S. Army)
• Daryl Boggs, Ohio (Ohio National Guard)
• Curtis Armstrong, Michigan (U. S. Army)
• Billy Chisum, Alaska (U. S. Air Force)
• Christopher Lawrence, California (U. S. Marines)
• Wendell Guillermo, California (U. S. Army)

“Our Hearts of STIHL award recognizes those individuals that represent the spirit of power, dedication, and service that is at the heart of our company,” said Roger Phelps, Corporate Communications Manager, STIHL Inc. All six of these veterans have contributed to the mission of Resurrecting Lives Foundation as they have met with congressional leaders, worked with community veteran groups, and collaborated with local governments to make changes for their fellow veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury…. while recovering from their own TBIs.
STIHL awarded each of these men with a certificate good towards $300 of STIHL equipment. “This is a great opportunity for our young heroes, who we are so proud of,” said RLF’s Chrisanne Gordon. A huge thank you to STIHL for recognizing the hard work and determination these veterans have shown over the years.

City Barbeque Tumbler

Support our veterans with a new City Barbeque tumbler… plus free refills!

City BBQ is once again partnering with Resurrecting Lives Foundation to raise money through special new-year tumbler sales.

During the month of January, the restaurant will be offering a new artist-designed limited edition refillable tumbler for just $5. The cup, which sells out early every year, will feature free refills through the end of March, 2018. All proceeds from the sale of the cup will be donated to Resurrecting Lives Foundation.

“Resurrecting Lives Foundation is so pleased to partner again this year with City BBQ on their tumbler sales,” said Chrisanne Gordon, RLF Founder. “Funds raised in past years have enabled RLF to provide transition services for veterans with TBI seeking employment, scholarships to receive training in meditation, and support collaborations with the Intrepid Centers and Military Traumatic Brain Injury rehab facilities, to mention just a few of our initiatives. We thank you in advance for your purchase of one of these cups during the month of January.”

This promotion to benefit RLF is happening at all 38 City BBQ in six states. Visit the City BBQ blog at https://www.citybbq.com/blog/