"Military guys doing yoga and meditation?"
I've been asked in disbelief. It's true that when they first arrived to participate in my study (a yoga-based breathing program offered by a small non-profit organization), the young, tattoo-covered, hard-drinking, motorcycle-driving all-American Midwestern men didn't look like your typical yoga devotees. But their words after the study said it all: "Thank you for giving me my life back" and "I feel like I've been dead since I returned from Iraq and I feel like I'm alive again." Our surprisingly positive findings revealed the power that lies in breath for providing relief from even the most deep-seated forms of anxiety.
As many of us know, there is an unspoken epidemic that is taking 20 lives a day in the U.S.
Who is impacted? Those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in protection of others: Veterans.
Why? War trauma.
Average age? 25.
There is hardly a day that goes by that we don’t hear many people ask us, “How do I volunteer and help you guys?” Well, you CAN!
The LCVFSF’s Service Platoon is an ongoing effort to match Veterans,family members and civilians with service opportunities around your communities. Service Platoon Offers the opportunity for all to Give Back.
A team of Abbvie Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG) of the North-Chicago based pharmaceuticals company, made many children of Veterans happy by giving them 16 new bikes, helmets, and bike locks at LCVFSF’s Drop-In Center in Grayslake on June 22nd. The event included safe-riding lessons from Police Officer Mario Balarin Patrolman and training instructor,of the Grayslake Police Department.
“It’s nice to see so many happy young faces,” said ERG Co-Chair Kristen Howard, “It’s also nice to give back to the Veteran community with something fun for family members.”
“I heard about the idea from another company and thought, ‘Why couldn’t Abbvie do this?’, Kristen said. So I proposed it to management and got the OK.”
With the inclusion of Equestrian Connections to our list of providers and partners, we now have access to facilities that were not available to us in the past. Specifically, there is a fishing pond that we can use at our disposal.
So LCVFSF is forming a new fishing club called, “The Aquaholics Anonymous Club”, based on fishermen and women’s reputation for their serious addiction to pulling innocent life out of bodies of water. Peer Specialists Bob Gorman and Justin Culliton will be in charge of the club, its membership and its schedule.
“We are eager to meet with and talk with others who are interested in fishing in and around Lake County,” said Bob Gorman.
“Both Bob and I are avid fisherman," said Justin. "That’s me with my Muskie catch. We’re organizing the club, and we want to hear your ideas about where to go and what’s best to fish with on those waters.”
The launch of this new club is bound to fuel many more tall tales of fish caught – and lost.
Those interested in participating can call LCVFS at 847-986-4622.
On April 27, 2018 Veteran Peer Specialist and Mission Continues Fellow Jessica Lopez was honored at an academic assembly at the College of Lake County for graduating with the highest honors. She will formally graduate on May 12 to receive an “Associates in Arts” Degree on her path to a Bachelor of Arts, a Masters and a Doctorate.
Lopez was recognized for “Academic Excellence in Social Work” for her 4.0 GPA. While studying at CLC, Jessica served as President of the Student Veterans Club after her tenure as Secretary of the club. “The club was important for me, post-military,” said Jessica. “After serving with the Marines in Okinawa for four years, I needed some help getting grounded and making friends,” she said. She hopes to eventually serve military families In a clinical social work capacity.
Recognizing that working with horses can be a powerful therapy for Veterans and family members, LCVFSF has begun partnering with Equestrian Connections on Bradley Road in Lake Forest. It offers best in class equine therapy to enrich the lives of people who choose to benefit from its many resources and services.
Equestrian Connections offers a broad range of equine therapy programs, including one called ReConnect, specially designed for Veterans and family members to connect with horses and with each other to create a uniquely positive experience.
For direct online access to VA benefits and resources, create an account here.
From 1961 to 1971, almost 20 million gallons of a combination herbicide were dispersed over nearly a quarter of the country of Vietnam in hopes that it destroy foliage, thus revealing before-hidden pathways of the enemy: the guerrilla Viet Cong, otherwise known as the National Liberation Front.
The defoliant chemical, Agent Orange, killed plants and other vegetation, but it also proved toxic to the United States military members serving on the lands it touched, then and decades after.
And it wasn’t just Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia. Unfortunately, the compound substance harmed vets serving outside of this combat area — sometimes reaching hundreds and thousands of miles away.
If you or a loved one served and was affected by the poisonous affects of Agent Orange, but didn’t serve in Vietnam, it’s still possible to claim benefits or compensation (payments) for this contact.