Reposted with permission, January 17, 2019
“I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive.”
Sonia Sotomayor (Justice at the Supreme Court – b.1954)
Are we listening and learning lessons from history? Knowing something of history helps in every day-life and mobilizes people into action; history has a persistent voice. Thinking of others, makes us aware of the people , who have defined and protected our freedom and our peace of mind.
It takes leadership and the question for leadership is: what are we fighting for and how can we help?
The answer may be …service to a greater, better society , and show more empathy to understand others. Let’s think of some of the people leading foundations to bring awareness and healing to the Veterans, the men and women, who make this Nation a safe country, now and for many years. It is also a moral decision to respect Veterans and those, who have been the protectors of this country and far beyond its borders. The benevolence of Americans and their assistance has been shown and been proven for many years and cannot nor should it escape notice. Wherever there is a catastrophe of nature, a tsunami , an earthquake or floods Americans are present to help …among them the Veterans and Armed Forces. Nowhere in the world is the assistance greater and quicker, more decisive than by this group of Americans and its Veterans.
It is an absolute necessity and a mission to improve and assist the Veterans who struggle with a daily battle to regain their health and to make life better for them. The saying “whatever affects one directly-affects all indirectly” is a valuable consideration. It has an impact on a community, on job creation, social justice and sustainability in a safe environment. The goal is to assist in transitioning into inner and outer health and new professions. Veterans are disciplined, loyal, work-ethical and skilled and make good leaders with hard-earned experience. The question is: is there a way to assist to make their lives better? The answer is: YES.
Among the many leaders who volunteer their time and passion for our veterans and the military is Anne Akers, Veterans Advocate and Special Advisor to Operation Warrior Shield, a 501c-3, founded by Ed Schloeman, CMSgt (retired), a powerful force in the Veterans community. Anne Akers’ active background of more than 20 years in health and wellness has long embraced the value of ‘community based holistic wellness’, to address the most common conditions facing our Veterans today. This includes stress, anxiety, the sense of purpose that is often lost in today’s society. This deep commitment led Anne to bring together Operation Warrior Shield and Tournesol Wellness, based in Manhattan. The goals are to create individual programs of holistic care that is now being offered to qualifying Veterans at no cost. These programs address ‘body, mind, and spirit,’ with significant measurable results in overall emotional well-being and quality of life.
The customized programs offered at Tournesol in partnership with Operation Warrior Shield and the David Lynch Foundation include training in Transcendental Meditation (TM) as an “at home tool”. TM relieves symptoms of PTSD, depression, and builds resilience against the growing rate of suicide among Veterans, helps family and employment problems. The evidence-based approach of TM has been extensively researched by over 340 peer-viewed studies and the National Institutes of Health, showing a 40-55% reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression, a 42% decrease in insomnia, and a 30% improvement in quality of life, according to Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, he is also the author of “Strength in Stillness”: The Power of Transcendental Meditation, New York Times Bestseller in 2018.
Most recently, New York Mayor de Blasio announced the launch of VetConnectNYC, a coordinated network of public, private and nonprofit organizations servicing over 200,000 NYC Veterans, service members and their families in the areas of housing, education, employment and healthcare. Accessible online, by phone or in person, VetConnect NYC will streamline the way in which veterans, service members and their families are able to access resources and benefits throughout the five boroughs. Operation Warrior Shield and Tournesol Wellness are proud to be an approved provider within this program, providing the health and wellness services critical for integration and return into civilian life.
The Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (ret. US Army) remarked: “With the official launch of VetConnectNYC, we know that easing transition for our City’s service members, veterans and their loved ones should be a top priority. This service and access multiplying network simplify the process and I am so thrilled to work alongside our tremendous partners on this bold and noble mission. I look forward to seeing the lives of our City’s Veterans carried to new heights — none of us can do it alone”.
The visions and work of these foundations are important to the healing process. Throughout this Nation diverse groups are actively providing assistance and make helpful decisions, by being part of this thought process provides a better result…for one and all. These foundations reveal the need to assist in the well-being and the respect Veterans deserve. It is a priority! Goals need to be set, have accountable leaders, and measure the progress. These groups will bring the much-needed healing process. Failing to do less will affect the lives of thousands upon thousands, it will reverberate negatively on this Nation.
Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
Lyndon B. Johnson(36th US President – 1908-1973)
Christa Dowling is an experienced media executive, clear communicator and specializes in cross-cultural activities within strategic alliances.
In her field of expertise as a journalist and editor-in-chief she has worked for different publications in various cultures and countries in Europe and Middle East, among them are Conde Nast and Springer Verlag, Berlin, both based in Germany. She successfully launched VOGUE in Germany and several of other projects for publication.
Christa’s deep commitments are Women’s Rights and Human Rights and she is an enthusiastic advocate for cultural endeavors. including literature, art, classical music, movies, theater. She was educated in Germany and the United States, and resides in New York City.
Her training in leadership, teamwork, networking and outreach skills has given her the expertise to develop multi-national services in advising clients by solving problems with vision and concepts. Her multi-linguistic ability coupled with her deep interest in people has assisted her in building many contacts at the highest levels in business, arts and government.
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