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The Warriors We Serve

Our celebration of National Military Appreciation Month continues! Meet Larry LaHaye, a Warrior Foundation Freedom Station board member and U.S. Army veteran. Larry has boundless passion for his role within the foundation, leading post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury treatment programs. His efforts have made an incredible difference in ensuring that ill and injured service members have the quality of life they have earned. Below, he shares what volunteering with the foundation, and helping America’s heroes, has meant to him. “Two years ago, I was asked by the CEO and President of Warrior Foundation Freedom Station to consider taking over the role of Director of Post-Traumatic Stress/Traumatic Brain Injury Programs. This didn’t mean I would personally counsel the individual warriors, but rather find the right treatments for their needs. The position required joining the board of directors, bonding with these warriors, and gaining their trust and confidence. I researched various methods of treatment and was introduced to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). These warriors have been through so many drug studies, and group and individual programs, and needed something that would actually work. As an Army veteran myself, the doctor recommended I try the treatments, to combat the effects of serving in a war that took place many years before our post-9/11 warriors were born. Sleep is an essential part of therapy to reduce anxiety and depression, and improve cognitive thinking. I began to sleep well after 40+ years of experiencing the same problems that our warriors are struggling with now. I am a firm believer that TMS can help most warriors achieve a better quality of life, and the most rewarding part of volunteering has been watching so many lives improve before my very eyes. One of our warriors, who lost both legs as the result of an IED blast, went through the TMS program and as expected, was skeptical about his results. Towards the end of treatment, I met him at the doctor’s office and went to shake his hand (pre-COVID). Instead, he grabbed my wrist, pulled me down into his wheelchair, gave me the biggest hug and said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, I have never felt this good since my ‘incident’.” I am retired and enjoyed my work in the civilian world, but never have I had so much fulfillment and purpose since volunteering as Director of PTS/TBI Programs for the foundation. If this is my life’s reward - giving back to our military, our community, and especially my fellow ill and injured brothers and sister- in-arms, I should have done this years ago. It is one of my life’s greatest honors to be involved with Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. God bless these warriors and God bless America.”

It’s universally recognized that military spouses serve and sacrifice alongside their husbands and wives. The Department of Defense declared the Friday before Mother’s Day every year as “Military Spouse Appreciation Day” to show gratitude to those who are the backbone of military families, supporting our troops during deployment, return, and the transition to civilian life. Please join us in saluting Corporal Perry Price, U.S. Army (ret.) and his beautiful bride, Corinne Price. When Perry first met his new wife Corinne, they quickly bonded through their shared faith in God and the desire to make the world better through service. They share not only their love for faith, but their love for their country. Corrine’s father served in the United States Navy, giving her tremendous appreciation for the impact that being in the military had on Perry, and how it shaped the man he is today. Her heart for those who have served is second to none. Corrine has served those who have served our country as a nurse with the Veterans Administration for over 20 years. The happy couple also serve the community together with Life Acts Ministries every Saturday to distribute food to the underprivileged. Perry and Corinne Price recently celebrated their union of marriage. They were personally selected by U.S. Marine Colonel Al Ransom and generously gifted a stunning ceremony by Vows for Vets and the Los Willows Wedding Estate. As they celebrated with family and loved ones, Perry and Corinne emphasized the importance of the purpose of their marriage through honor, love, respect and commitment. Reflecting on his time in uniform, Perry says, “My favorite part about being in the military was knowing that my service would make a positive difference in the lives of the people around me, and my fellow Americans. In addition, the brotherhood, camaraderie, and friendships I gained in the military will last a lifetime. I can honestly say that even the challenges became blessings in the end. The good always outweighs the bad. I learned to appreciate life more while being in the military. Everyone from my recruiter, peers and drill instructors, all the way up to my squad leaders and company commanders, taught me things I will cherish forever. I continue to infuse those lesson and values into my life every day. The military also taught me how to be thankful, honor and cherish the small things in life.”

There was a big party going on at Freedom Station I...work party that is. Active duty sailors, marines, veterans, construction workers, landscapers, plumbers and other volunteers working along side each other to maintain this beautiful home for our injured warriors.

Our celebration of National Military Appreciation Month continues! Meet Guy Riddle, a longtime Warrior Foundation Freedom Station board member and U.S. Navy veteran. Guy is an invaluable part of the team whose dedication is truly second to none. We spoke to Guy about his volunteerism with the foundation and what the experience has meant to him. “After spending many years in the U.S. Navy, I decided upon retirement that I wanted to find a way to give back for all that I had received. I found my next calling in being a part of the pride, passion and patriotism that is Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. I get a high sense of satisfaction when working with, and for, these dedicated warriors in their recovery. The camaraderie, true sense of belonging, and being a team player while doing everything I can for our injured warriors, brings about a sense of pride in me that is undefinable. Volunteering for Warrior Foundation Freedom Station is an accomplishment that no other activity in my life can match. I receive great satisfaction when giving my all for these warriors as they progress through their recovery and re-entry into society. These warriors, for all they have accomplished, deserve everything and yet ask for nothing. My volunteering is not about me or the accolades I may receive for what I have done; it is about these courageous men and women and what they have put themselves through for our great nation. Watching them recover and knowing that they would do it all over again brings about a sense of pride and patriotism. Put simply, I love all that I do for our injured warriors. God bless our troops.”

May is one of our favorite times of the year, because it’s National Military Appreciation Month! Designated by Congress in 1999, National Military Appreciation Month ensures the nation is given the chance to publicly show our appreciation for our troops, past and present. Over the next few weeks, you’ll meet some incredible warriors as we share their thoughts on serving in the military. You’ll also get to know some of Warrior Foundation Freedom Station’s all-star volunteers, who give generously of their time to ensure our troops receive the support they need. We’re incredibly proud to kick things off with Corporal Crystal Pinedo, U.S. Marine Corps (ret)., a true warrior woman who lights up the room wherever she goes. With her incredible spirit, heart and determination, Crystal is destined to continue making significant and lasting contributions to the world . Below, she shares her thoughts on service with us. Crystal says, “For as long as I can remember, ever since I was as a little girl, I knew I wanted to serve my country. It gave me honor in knowing I was doing something bigger than myself, and that I’d make my family proud of me. Service to me means putting others before yourself and that’s truly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a difference, challenge myself ,and push my limits to see how far I could go. I knew if I put my mind to it, I could do anything! The most meaningful thing I’ve gained from joining the Marine Corps was all my brothers and sisters I gained along the way. So many have truly become family and to this day, I’m still close to a select few. I’ve learned to always keep looking ahead even when times get tough, to never give up because 'once the round is down range you can’t take it back' - my drill instructor taught me that. Becoming a wounded warrior was something that impacted me greatly. The family I came into once I got out, with my fellow wounded warriors, was something I will forever be grateful for. I live everyday knowing they will always have my back. I’m truly grateful and blessed, and I thank God every day for always watching over me and blessing me with such an amazing experience and the family that came with it!”

'Tis the season for spring cleaning, and we could use your car donations! Please consider donating your unwanted car, truck, RV or boat (running or not), to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. We use the proceeds from the sale of these vehicles to fund programs that add a little sunshine to the lives of our injured warriors. Pickup is free anywhere in U.S. and your donation is tax-deductible! Donate today at: https://careasy.org/nonprofit/Warrior-Foundation-Freedom-Station

Spring is the season of all things new, and we’re debuting our latest gear at the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Official Store! Enjoy the sunshine in our lightweight polos - perfect for a day of golf or a leisurely lunch. We’re also down to the final batch of our vintage men’s and ladies’ military green tees – now available for a special price until they run out! From work to play and everything in between - we’ve got you covered. Look great, feel great, and support a vital mission with gear that honors the warrior in all of us. Shop now at https://www.ebay.com/str/warriorfoundationfreedomstation

Celebrated every March 29, National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a special day for Americans to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who served in the Vietnam War. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station is proud to call one of these heroes, Henry James “Jim” Bedinger, a co-founder and member of our family, who has been with us since our inception in 2004. His riveting story represents survival, courage, honor and resilience of the highest order, defining exactly what it means to be an extraordinary American. Jim was born in Philadelphia at the end of World War II. Growing up in the shadows of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, he has never forgotten our nation’s history. On November 22, 1969, Jim ejected from his F-4 Phantom over Laos and landed very close to enemy forces. Captured by the North Vietnamese Army, Jim was walked over the Truong Song mountains into North Vietnam and then trucked to Hanoi. He would spend the next three and a half years as a prisoner of war at Hỏa Lò Prison. Jim was put into a cell with Ernie Brace, a civilian pilot captured in May of 1965. In the cell to their left was Admiral James Stockdale, and in the cell to their right, John McCain. Jim often says today, “It’s hard for a LT(jg) to go wrong surrounded by naval leadership like that.” Asked how he found the strength to survive such a horrific ordeal, Jim tells us: “I found three values that were invaluable in helping me resist our Communist adversary. My faith in God was vital, and the liturgy, music, and stories from the Bible were firmly entrenched in me from attending Saint Peter's boarding school. The second was faith in my country and the long history of Americans who served their country before me. Finally, the core value of family was a blessing I could remember every day. My fellow American POWs were from many states and backgrounds, but we united under the theme of 'Return with Honor.’ No matter what the enemy did, they could never take these core values away from me. Today I thank God, a long line of great teachers, and my parents, who taught me about the patriots who came before me.” Jim was released as part of Operation Homecoming in March 1973. He continues to be an inspiration to us all, and we are incredibly blessed to have him as part of our foundation. You can read about Jim’s incredible journey in his book, “Patriot, Prisoner, Survivor: An American Family at War,” now available on Amazon.com. To all of our Vietnam War veterans, we thank you for your incredible service to our nation.

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