As Special Programs Manager of Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT initiative, I felt as though I had a full understanding of our partnership with Virginia High Performance and their “No Fail Mission” offering for injured military vets. Then I enrolled in the program myself.
After 10 years in the Marine Corps and four deployments overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty. My treatment consisted of cognitive behavioral therapy, pharmaceuticals, and acupuncture. I even spent time in an inpatient facility. And yet when I separated from the service in 2013, I still struggled. I was out of shape and dealing with lingering injuries. I’d been avoiding the gym out of fear that exercise would just aggravate my injuries and cause more pain. I didn’t have much faith in my own capabilities.
I wanted to see firsthand what our ReBOOT candidates experience. And boy, did my coaches at Virginia High Performance put me through the ringer. They taught me the proper way to work out, emphasizing the importance of specific movements and helping me to develop a unique exercise regimen. With their guidance, I was able to work every muscle group with zero joint pain. And that was just my personal benefit. There was more.
While at VHP, I witnessed first-hand the willingness of coaches and staff to take on veterans with incredibly complex limitations – men and women who had been passed over by other systems. People who had all but given up. With each veteran, the staff developed an individualized plan, improvising where needed and incorporating a wide range of tools and therapies –everything from compression gear to deep tissue massages to “float therapy” in a sensory deprivation tank. Add to that customized meal plans created by one of the country’s top sports nutritionists, and amazing speech language pathologists, it’s no surprise these program participants were achieving remarkable results.
Had ReBOOT been around ten years ago, I truly believe I’d still be on active duty today. As it is, I’m serving in a different capacity. Every day, I get to help veterans overcome hurdles and improve their quality of life through ReBOOT. No, it’s not a magic pill that you take to make everything better, but rather a treasure map that will lead you on a journey to achieve your own unique goals. I am living proof of that.
If you are a veteran seeking information about enrollment, or a donor seeking information about supporting veterans health and wellness, please visit www.BootCampaign.org/ReBOOT .