The soldiers who attended two of Freedom Alliance’s Troop Appreciation Dinners last week at Fort Lewis, Washington and Fort Gordon, Georgia have a very special mission to accomplish: to recover from the wounds and injuries they sustained while defending our nation.
Their injuries range from visible gunshot wounds and amputations to injuries that are not always as apparent like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, servicemembers undergo months, possibly years, of physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy to heal and re-learn skills which most of us take for granted.
In total, 95 soldiers from Fort Gordon and 58 soldiers from Fort Lewis enjoyed private dinners at The Public House in Augusta, Georgia and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Bellevue, Washington courtesy of Freedom Alliance.
The purpose of these dinners is to honor their service and provide a boost to the morale of the soldiers and their families. The events are a reminder of the steadfast support our service members have from the American people, and also provides them the opportunity to leave the confines of a hospital environment to spend quality time with their comrades in arms, spouses, and loved ones.
Lieutenant Carter, a soldier who attended the Fort Gordon dinner expressed that “the event helped me to recognize that the American people are still behind me.”
Another soldier who attended the Fort Gordon dinner suffers from severe PTSD. He avoids eating in restaurants because the crowds and noise make him uncomfortable and aggravate his stress level. But the opportunity to dine with only his fellow soldiers opened an opportunity for him to make the important decision to attend the Freedom Alliance Dinner. “It [was] a challenge for which I am proud that I was able to accomplish,” he remarked while boarding the bus back to Fort Gordon.
At Fort Lewis, Staff Sergeant Roy thanked Freedom Alliance for, “a wonderful opportunity and a great treat. My wife and I loved the food and the service was first class. God Bless You.” Freedom Alliance dinners provide wounded service members with a fun event outside of the hospital, they are an opportunity to re-connect families and revitalize their spirits. In doing this, Freedom Alliance helps these brave men and women complete their mission: to heal.
Freedom Alliance’s Troop Appreciation Events are just one part of our efforts. So far this year we have shipped more than 1,200 “Gifts from Home” care packages to troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and provided tens of thousands in grants to wounded service members. The Freedom Alliance Scholarship awarded $902,500 in scholarships to 201 students in 2009 and the application for the 2010-2011 Academic Year is available online at fascholarship.com.