On Saturday, June 20, Wave Academy participated in the 2nd
Annual Operation Engage America event at the Liberty Station Conference Center in San Diego. We were joined by more than 60 organizations that are committed to raising awareness and providing resources for war veterans who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
In response to devastating news, two years ago Howard and Jean Somers began the long road to understanding what resources existed for families coping with veteran loved ones who are suffering from PTS and TBI. On June 10, 2013 their lives changed forever when their son, Daniel, a decorated California Army National Guardsman, ended his life.
Like many of our veterans, Daniel was battling PTS, TBI and the less known condition, Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). The Department of Veterans Affairs defines GWS as “a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.”
Heartbroken, frustrated and confused, Daniel’s parents began seeking answers to questions about what more could have been done.
The Somers found while there are plenty of organizations that strive to support our veterans, approximately 46,000, few are well known; and that is a huge problem and a main reason they started Operation Engage America.
Questions that plague those needing support include: What programs does the VA provide to our veterans and their families? Are others suffering, and if so how are they being helped? How do families interact with their returned love ones who continue to suffer from the unseen wounds of war? What part does the families, friends, neighbors, and caretakers play in reducing the episodes that PTS, TBI and GWS bring on? Can the spouse and parents face these challenges alone? Is there hope and will things get better?
Though no one organization can answer all these questions or be the right fit for every person, having a greater awareness for their services is big a step in the right direction.
As part of our Spring & Summer Outreach and Awareness Campaign, Wave Academy accepted Jean and Howard’s invitation to participate in the event. Following the release of our Johns Hopkins University Study that confirmed the benefits of Aquatic Bodywork Therapy (ABT), we were excited to share our offerings and the study’s findings with the greater veteran community that attended.
Wave Academy founder, Dave Towe, said, “The opportunity to meet veterans with PTS and provide applications to enroll in Wave Academy's ABT treatment was invaluable."
Sebastian Skinner was one of several of our practitioners to attend Saturday’s event. “It was very special to be a part of Saturday's movement and to see all that is available to veterans suffering from PTS and TBI and their families, including alternative therapies, housing, and financial assistance/debt relief, among others,” said Skinner. “[It] was awe-inspiring how the individuals came about creating this event two years ago when they had lost their son to suicide. How something so strong, powerful and positive can come from such tragedy is quite amazing.”
Dave Towe added, “In addition to connecting with veterans, we networked with organizations and businesses located in the Southern California area. I had the opportunity to meet several business and business leaders who offer PTS support programs in San Diego. We’ve started a dialogue to begin exchanging resources and collaborating; I’m very encouraged.
"I was especially happy to meet Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System Director/CEO, Jeffrey Gering, and to introduce him to our program and our Wave Academy volunteers," said Towe.
Wave Academy is honored to have been a part of such a wonderful event, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Somers and our fellow organizations over the next year.
For more information about Operation Engage America visit their website at www.operation-engage-america.org
For more information about how to get involved with Wave Academy or to learn about our low-cost/no-cost treatment programs, visit www.waveacademy.org