Today, we celebrate our nation's veterans. But for many, honoring and supporting members of our military happens every day. Freedom Alliance is one organization dedicated to America’s Military all year long. They recognize members of our Armed Forces and their service by hosting events, providing financial assistance to our troops in times of need, and awarding scholarships to the dependents of our wounded and fallen heroes.
Lisa Hoffman has been a longtime supporter of Freedom Alliance's initiatives. Just in time for Veterans Day, we connected with Tom Kilgannon, President of the Freedom Alliance, to hear how this charity changes lives, one person at a time:
As told by Tom Kilgannon, President of Freedom Alliance...
Freedom Alliance hosts Heroes Vacations to warriors who return from deployments to give service members a tangible expression of appreciation while offering time for couples to come together and reconnect after the stressors brought on by war. The U.S. Department of Defense has found that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a significant impact on service members’ marriages, and has linked long term deployments with an increase risk of divorce. It has become part of Freedom Alliance's mission to serve military couples to prevent these valuable marriages from becoming another causality of war.
One example of how we do this occurred recently when we hosted four couples at the historic Essex Inn in Tappahannock, Virginia. This vacation took place over Valentine’s Day weekend and provided luxurious accommodations, a gift bag including Lisa Hoffman’s signature line of fragrances, a relaxing day at the spa, and a world class dining experiences.
One of the couples who joined us on this couples' retreat was Darrell and his wife Holly. Darrell was injured in a grenade explosion while fighting in the Battle of Fallujah and would subsequently spend months recovering from the blast with much of this time was away from his wife. Prior to this vacation, Darrell was stationed hours from Holly and this vacation would be the first time in weeks which they would be together. Holly told us:
“It was extra cool that Darrell and I have been separated and were able to meet for a little rejuvenation before we went our separate ways again. It's people like you and organizations like Freedom Alliance that make the ‘little things’ possible for folks like us. Thank you for the opportunity to escape the chaos of reality, create new friendships and remind us why we fell in love in the first place. You'll never know the difference you make.”
Another couple that joined us were Shawn and Fae. Shawn, a Marine who served in Military Intelligence, suffered from a blast from an improvised explosive device that left him unconscious for several minutes and resulted in memory loss, seizures, and other symptoms of a significant brain injury. He and his wife entered on the long path of recovery together and would be one that brought tremendous stress to the relationship. After joining us for this weekend retreat Fae wrote:
“I wanted to thank you again for the invitation to an amazing weekend! I could feel the stress of everyday life leaving my body moments after getting there. I am still smiling at the moments I got to share with my husband. I'm not sure if it was the atmosphere or what but I sure did and do feel like my love for Shawn was sparked and is on fire again. I don't know if you or the donors that do these things for us realize how much it means to the veterans or the wives you are affecting. I feel like a newlywed and I'm loving it.”
Freedom Alliance is able to support military heroes because of the generosity of others. If you would like to learn more about Freedom Alliance please visit their website or connect with them on Facebook.