Friday, February 27, 2015

A Thank You to Our Amazing Supporter, Doug Flynn

Hope For The Warriors® would like to thank our incredible supporter, Doug Flynn, for his years of encouragement, commitment, and advocacy to our organization. 

Doug has raised impressive funds for Hope For The Warriors® over the years, but perhaps most importantly, he has always made himself available to lend his voice to our mission and raise awareness to the needs of today’s military family.

He has hosted Scarlet & Gold Invitational for several years, brought an ill veteran to hang out at the Cincinnati Reds Fantasy Camp, serves on the Celebrity Action Committee, continuously participates at beneficiary events, speaking engagements, recruits supporters, promotes us on his radio show and social media, where he created the #StandWithAVet movement…and the list goes on!

Johnny Bench (Left) and Doug Flynn (Right)
Thank you, Doug! We’re proud to have you as a partner and look forward to a future of joining forces together for our military families!

Please join Doug in his #StandWithAVet campaign and visit the River Landing website for more information about this year's Scarlet & Gold Invitational.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Military & Veteran Caregiver Wellness Workshop

Join Hope For The Warriors® this Tuesday, March 3, in Lorton, VA for the Military & Veteran Caregiver Wellness Workshop. Check out the above flyer for more info on the one-day workshop and register today!

We have begun coordinating the development of new caregiver support services at Hope For The Warriors®. We feel that it is essential that we devote more attention to the caregivers because of the negative impact their caregiving role can have on their physical health and psychological well-being. We are well aware that the physical and psychological problems that military caregivers experience can greatly impact the care of the wounded warrior and the family's overall stability.

We hope to host 15-20 military caregivers for this wellness day focusing on self-care beyond respite opportunities. We have a tremendous clinical staff at Hope For The Warriors® who can provide specialty programming in art therapy, applied theatre, yoga therapy, supportive counseling, and caregiver/peer mentorship. We are excited to bring a wellness approach to this crucial population in support of the recovering warrior and his/her family. We will be performing assessments to make sure that the workshops are effective in increasing a caregiver's self-care activities and decreasing their feelings of social isolation. We are hoping to rollout these workshops in other regions of the United States as well.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Going Above & Beyond to Support Career Transitioning Veterans

On February 12-13, 2015, the Hope For The Warriors® Career Transition & Education (CT&E) team attended a conference in Dulles, VA and hosted a resume preparation/writing event. The hiring expo was hosted by the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and its GovCONnections CommitteeService members and veterans met with potential employers, and CT&E had the opportunity to consult with service members and exhibiters before, during, and after the event. CT&E provided one-on-one training and advice to service members while gaining valuable information from exhibitors.

The mission of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce Hiring Expo is to help to maintain a crucial and mutually beneficial relationship between the veteran/military community, veteran owned businesses and their families to the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce community and its members.

The GovCONnections Advisory Board of the Dulles Chamber of Commerce – which includes CACI, General Dynamics IT, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon IIS – designed the Teaming, Training and Transitioning (T3) program to connect government contractors, commercial business employers and other supporting resources in the Dulles and surrounding areas with veterans and current military who have sacrificed so much for our country.

This expo allowed Hope For The Warriors® to bridge the gap of understanding between employers and veterans so that the two groups could better understand each other. This proactivity is all part of the transition process for returning veterans and companies looking to hire them.

In one-on-one and group sessions with service members and exhibitors, the need to successfully communicate service related skills to the civilian job market was the major topic of conversation. Many recruiters lamented that the resumes of transitioning service members were lacking civilian keywords. Service members echoed this frustration, stating that the transition teams in their respective services did not adequately equip them to write meaningful resumes. Likewise, many service members complained about not having interview skills.

To address these frustrations for transitioning veterans, CT&E is leading the way to continue the dialogue with professional partners about current and best practices regarding resume writing and interview skills, focusing on civilian expectations. 

Hope For The Warriors® staff members Jon Giuffre, Brian Schiller, and Matt Baffoe worked closely with retired service member Sebastian, whose efforts were rewarded with an interview with NJVC, an IT company in Virginia.

CT&E laid the groundwork for new relationships with exhibitors, renewed existing relationships, and recruited new service members to participate in all that Hope For The Warriors® has to offer.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Team Hope For The Warriors® Newsletter: February

2015 has gotten off to a great start for Team Hope For The Warriors®. The team is growing and there are a lot of exciting events planned for the year! As we train for all of the 2015 events we remember that we are the Team that is defined by our achievements rather than our injuries or obstacles as we are united in the goal of improving the rehabilitation of combat wounded service members and military families.

2015 Team Races:
Below are the confirmed dates and races for 2015

March 15, 2015 – United Airlines NYC Half Marathon  
Sold out

March 21, 2015 – Queens 13.1
Registration Site to go live soon

March 21, 2015 – MCCS Cherry Point Half Marathon*

March 28, 2015 – Marine Corps 17.75K

May 17, 2015 – Marine Corps Historic Half
Registration Site to go live soon

August 22, 2015 – Quantico Tri*
Register on February 28
Do not wait, will sell out!

October 11, 2015 – Army Ten Miler*
Registration Site to go live soon

October 25, 2015 – Marine Corps Marathon 10K
Registration Site to go live soon

October 25, 2015 – Marine Corps Marathon*
Registration Site to go live soon

November 1, 2015 – TCS NYC Marathon
Registration Site to go live soon

*Handcycle friendly race

Fundraising Tip:
Ask friends and/or family to sponsor one of your training runs and commit a certain dollar amount towards each mile you run. This will help you stay motivated while allowing you to reach your fundraising goal! Be sure to wear your Team jersey and take a thank you photo or video.

Training Tip:
The cold winter is still here! Here are some cross training ideas, for those extremely cold or icy days, as we wait for spring:

  • Use a Treadmill or another cardio machine
  • Find an indoor pool and go swimming
  • Go Cross Country Skiing: For those of you with lots of snow
  • Weight Training: Take the time to strengthen your muscles for endurance events by lifting lightweights with a high level of repetitions.
  • Yoga/Stretching: This is easy to do indoors and will help you stay healthy and feel rejuvenated as your training intensifies when it gets warmer outside.

Team Member Corner: Francisco Cortes

Team Member Francisco Cortes is the Vice President of Fox News Latino. As Vice President of, Francisco Cortes is dedicated to keeping the pulse of the Hispanic community. He was a key player in helping create and launch the news site in 2010, and now leads and mentors a team of experienced journalists through all phases of content creation. Francisco has become the first Hispanic Vice President in the company’s news division and was named one of the Top Young Latinos in American Newsrooms by the Huffington Post. Francisco has been a part of the FOX News family since 1999 and is a U.S. Army and National Guard veteran. He will be running the NYC Half Marathon on Team Hope For The Warriors® this March!

Program Information:
Jack Rabbit Relationship:
Exciting news for all of our Team Members in the New York City area. Team Hope For The Warriors® has partnered up with Jack Rabbit for GROUP RUNS! These runs will take place at one of Jack Rabbit’s locations (Union Square, Upper West, Upper East, or Brooklyn). In addition, Jack Rabbit is offering the Team clinics, such as nutrition and gear. For more information please contact Steve Barto at

Rock ‘n’ Roll Series:
The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series has teamed up with everydayhero as their official fundraising platform. You can now run in any Rock ‘n’ Roll event and raise funds for Hope For The Warriors! Beginning March 1st, every race participant will be asked if they want to fundraise on behalf of their favorite cause during the race registration process. When you register and are asked to choose your charity, pick Hope For The Warriors® and you will automatically be given a Rock ‘n’ Roll everydayhero fundraising page!  

USA Track & Field (USATF):
Hope For The Warriors® is now a USATF Organization and if you are also a USATF member you can now run for Hope For The Warriors® as an organization! Furthermore, you can compete in the USATF championships. For more information please contact Steve Barto at

Run For The Warriors®:
Registration is now open for the 10th Annual Jacksonville Run For The Warriors®. Register here! For the complete list of races visit, check back frequently for more registration pages coming soon.

Representing the Team:
Be sure to shoot us an email with your race schedule and where you will be wearing your Team jersey. Each time you wear your jersey, you help our mission to restore self, family, and hope. Feel free to share photos and special stories too!

Important Links For Social Media:
Twitter When you tweet be sure to use #TeamH4W

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sex After Combat: In Pursuit of Healthy Relationships

Join Hope For The Warriors® Wednesday, February 18, at 8 p.m. EST for Sex After Combat: In Pursuit of a Healthy Relationship

Motivational speaker and military caregiver peer mentor Patti Katter will be partnering with certified life coach Shannon Ethridge to tackle the topic of intimacy within the wounded warrior community. 

War injuries such as loss of limb, severe burns, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress can make it difficult to become sexually intimate after war. Shannon will help us tackle some of the intimate trials our veterans and their partners face, giving tips on how to have a more healthy, intimate relationship with your partner. 

Shannon has a Masters in Counseling and Human Relations, and is a best-selling author, speaker, and certified life coach. Shannon is the author of 19 books, including the million-copy best-selling series, Every Woman’s Battle. Her latest book is The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual ThoughtsYou can visit her website at

If you have questions before or after the session, please email Patti Katter directly [].

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Meditation Provides Mindful Awareness for PTSD Treatment

This article was written by one of our social work interns, Jennifer Aleman. It is the fourth blog in a series dedicated to exploring options for the treatment of PTSD.

Have you ever heard someone use the expression just breathe? Well, they weren’t kidding. Using meditation as a basis for breathing can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Meditation is a viable treatment for PTSD because it is a practice that can be done from the comfort of our home, it is cost-effective, and has a tremendous amount of health benefits.

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, which can include techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way and is often used to clear the mind. Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as "being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself." There are many different types of mediation but one form of meditation which has increasingly becoming popular is breathing-based meditation.

Breathing-Based Meditation
In a recent research study by the Journal of Traumatic Stress, U.S. Military Veterans participated in a randomized controlled study focused on breathing-based meditation. The findings of this study suggested that the breathing–based meditation used, Sudarshan Kriya, reduced PTSD symptoms, anxiety, self-reported hyperarousal symptoms and re-experiencing trauma. Sudarshan Kriya breathing-based meditation is a powerful yet simple rhythmic breathing technique that incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath, harmonizing the body, mind, and emotions. These findings are promising because PTSD symptoms influence the quality of life in returning veterans.

Photo courtesy of

Mindfulness Meditation
Another popular type of mediation is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is designed to increase awareness of the present mo­ment by focusing the person’s attention on the breath. There are several types of mindfulness meditation that differ slightly in posture, hand or leg positions, and eyes being open or closed, but all universally in­volve the person sitting still and observing the breath. When thoughts arise, the meditator is instructed to neutrally acknowledge their thoughts as they come and go, but to always bring attention back to the simple process of air going in and out, in a natural and relaxed way.

A study that focused on an 8-week mindfulness meditation found that participating Veterans demonstrated significant improvements in depression, PTSD, anxiety symptoms and overall mental health-related quality of life. According to the Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging Journal, Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital suggest that participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress and that spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises can have noticeable effects on the brain.

Long-Term Effects
PTSD symptoms cannot only be reduced with an eight-week mindfulness training program, but this experiential change corresponds with structural changes in parts of the brain that process memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. Connecting to these mindful awareness opportunities may provide lasting effects and comfort for those suffering from PTSD.

A recent article from the Huffington Post revealed that Camp Pendleton was testing "Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training" for their curriculum. These exercises would not only promote stress reduction, but would also enhance the service members' performance.

For those looking to try meditation on their own, there are quite a few resources for beginners. Headspace, MindBodyGreen, and UCLA Mindful Research Awareness Center can give you an idea of breathing-based and mindful meditation. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Facebook Support Network for Military Caregivers

Hope for the Warriors is proud to announce that we have a fantastic online/secret/closed support network group on Facebook that caters to post 9/11 military caregivers. Here we discuss how to productively juggle every day life as a military caregiver. Our group is positive, encouraging and fun! Military Caregivers are encouraged to ask questions and to give tips to other caregivers as we navigate this life together. 

If you are a Military Caregiver and would like to join our group, please follow the instructions below.
*Be sure to write CAREGIVER SUPPORT in the reference box on the registration page.

After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on where to find our group. Hope to see you on Facebook! 

Much Love,
Patti Katter 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Share Love & HOPE This Valentine's Day!

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we all have one word on our mind: LOVE. But the love we share today is not a one-dimensional, romantic love, but rather love with unconditional strength and sacrifice. That love transcends time and distance to define intimacy, resiliency, and most of all, family.

Programs within Hope For The Warriors® focus on restoring self, family, and hope. One story in particular reminds me of how our programs support love.

A military spouse and her special needs child were both physically and emotionally disconnected from their service member while he was in recovery in an out-of-state treatment facility. The distance impacted everyone in the family—the service member in recuperation, the mother trying to maintain normalcy, the child who was confused by the father’s absence. The family needed to reconnect and rebuild their love. Hope For The Warriors® flew the spouse and child across the country to reconnect and allow the family to heal together. Thanks to your donations, we were able to pay for their flights, hotel, rental car, and travel expenses.

This story is a great example of how our program work supports love. Shelley Rodriguez, Critical Care Coordinator with Hope For The Warriors®, assisted the family.

Creating meaningful connections with military family members like this one allowed me an amazing glimpse into their day-to-day lives. Being able to assist this military spouse and the unique needs of her family provided a much-needed service to those who serve our country and those who support their heroes and families.

As we celebrate this national day of love, we ask that you make a donation to Hope For The Warriors® to support programs that support our families. Your contribution can make the difference in the lives of our service members and military families.  Also consider a recurring monthly donation to support military families throughout the year.  As always, thank you for joining in our mission to restore self, family, and HOPE.

Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at Hope For The Warriors®!