One military family from Virginia just had the time of their lives in Costa Rica. After coming through some very dark days, this family deserved the best a Freedom Alliance Heroes Vacation can offer, and Costa Rica seemed like just the ticket.
After hearing their story, Freedom Alliance board member Gerald Lindholm and his wife, Virginia, invited Jason, a retired combat medic, and his wife and kids to stay at their condo in Los Sueños Resort and Marina. The carefree spirit there was in direct contrast to Jason’s journey of combat and trauma.
It all began ten years ago when the army sergeant deployed to Ramadi with a Calvary Scout unit. The fighting was intense, it being one of the most violent bouts during the war in Iraq. While Jason was riding in the gun turret of an armored infantry vehicle, a makeshift bomb exploded under its tracks.
All the passengers were injured, including Jason, whose neck was broken. He was flown stateside and treated for his injury, but he endures constant neck and back pain to this day. After transitioning out of the Army, Jason found himself depressed and turning to alcohol to dull the physical and emotional pain.
His marriage was failing and his kids didn’t recognize the man who had come home from the war. There were times when Jason wanted to call it quits, but his family and friends wouldn’t let him. The sergeant persevered, and when Freedom Alliance met him, we saw his determination and the brave family who stood behind him, and we wanted to support them in whatever way possible.
Today, Jason is overcoming PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and he works at a local emergency room while pursuing a degree in nursing. A Costa Rican adventure seemed like just the thing to celebrate his mettle and encourage him to keep pushing through.
The Lindholms kept Jason’s family well cared for and entertained. They toured the rainforest canopy on a treetop zip line; encountered huge crocodiles on Jose’s River Tour, and held baby crocs on another tour; hand-fed capuchin monkeys; played 18 holes of golf; and visited waterfalls. That’s not including the beaches and boats and restaurants.
Furthermore, Will Drost of Louisiana took the family and their hosts onboard his 43-foot custom Maverick yacht, the Geaux Fly, for a full day of off-shore fishing. Together they reeled in three sailfish and eight yellow fin tuna!
Jason’s daughter, Hannah, wrote to us during the vacation to say how it was going:
“My dad gets excited over every little thing we do here, and it’s great! He also liked showing off his ‘strength’ deep-sea fishing.”
Hannah described all the activity, including spending time in the hot tub with her mom and eating about six meals a day with multiple desserts. She said her brother Tristan hadn’t missed his video games at all: “That in itself is a miracle—thanks, Costa Rica.”
“But,” she said, “the best part is all of us getting to experience it together! I can’t remember the last time we’ve all been together for this many days in a row.”
With the bad times behind him, we hope Jason keeps his face to the light. His family is so proud of him, and we are too.
His is not an uncommon tale; there are so many veterans silently suffering. But Jason can be an influence and an inspiration to those on the brink of giving up.
To all of those we know, and you we haven’t met yet: Freedom Alliance does not take your sacrifice for granted, and we stand with you in this personal battle. You have come through so much; you can conquer this too.