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May 13, 2022 3:30 am
In my recent interview with Mighty Oaks Foundation's Jeremy Stalnecker, we discussed ways the organization is addressing the intense needs of those who wore - and wear - the uniform. https://www.mightyoaksprograms.org/
"The Mighty Oaks Foundation is committed to serving the brokenhearted by providing intensive peer-based discipleship through a series of programs, outpost meetings, and speaking events. Our Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs hosts such Men, Women, and Marriage Advance Programs at multiple locations nationwide. The Warriors who attend are fully sponsored for training, meals, and lodging needs to ensure that upon arrival to the ranch, each Warrior is focused solely on his or her recovery and identifying purpose moving forward."
Hope to be with us to Roseburg. This is a program for US family caregiver hope for the caregiver., want to introduce you to a special guest.
Your Bystolic are from the muddy Oaks foundation. I'll let him tell you what this organization is about the captured my heart.
This is something about think about for a very long time and these folks are actually doing it.
I'm very grateful to hear what they are about and what to do in the impactor having Mr. Jimmy, welcome to the program like Peter really appreciate it's great to be with you absolutely. Tell me your background you serviceman you are. You are the Marines correct. Yes, I had three niceties, Marine Corps.
I did a number of things best employee 2003 as part of the initial invasion into Iraq so we all can remember all is going on at that time January of that year. The unit was deployed, were supposed to stay on the border between Kuwait and Iraq just show presence and a couple months later in March. We actually went and we reach the berm secure the southern objective in the country made her way to Baghdad and eventually came back. Of course Jill June of that year June 2003 came back from Iraq and almost immediately processed out of the Marine Corps instead of the crazy times and went into full-time ministry. So we're transitioning the boys asked me was that a good transition was not a good transition. It was a transition.
The and transitioned out of Marine Corps after being involved in combat is serving a church staff and began a long journey and I was 2003 served as associate pastor there for five years and then pastored a church in the San Francisco Bay Area for another seven years. In the process of all that meant to Chad Robichaux who is founding the bayous foundation of my youth programs which we'll talk later. Just a second. At that time and so I was pastoring I was helping him get that off the ground and that was back in 2012 we been doing this ever since the yeah at one point God brought the ministry in the military together in my life and allowed me to use both of those things that hopefully be a blessing and help the families.
My dad In the Navy for many, many, many years and in the spent the last three or four years specifically with the Marines it was you and are spending time it was you. I spent all my time like the stomach trains on the Quantico Virginia and my my time serving in California capital to he impressed on me. Some of the needs going on military families and during the time when you were there.
We started going up to Walter Reed Malan so a lot of these combat wounded men and women can go back for the first time and this was a little bit of a a shot with one little bit.
It was a jarring thing for our country to see women coming back is is is a severely wounded many many amputees.
My wife is a AA PT and so she was asked to come up there to spend some time with a lot of these folks repeatedly, and I see she sang for the groundbreaking break grabbers assembly of the empty training center. Walter and and it was. It is a spent time with family members of combat wounded individuals, you know, I just could see the that the fear the eggs the heart ache the sometimes abject terror of the despair.
All this was going on in and I I know that the residual impact of these moves.
A lot of guys are receiving Lotta girls receiving can last a lifetime and not just the physical ones that the psychological wounds. A lot of people got the bell rung pretty hard with these IDs.
The neurological trauma last a very long time. Right.
Maybe for the rest of their lives. For family members. That's a big part of it and then the thing such as alcoholism and addiction play a part at all these things so tell me about the muddy Oaks foundation tell me what you guys lock in on and and share your heart, your ministry on this. We have been serving essentially three essay for community since we began at the veteran community. That's those who have served and early on it was almost entirely combat veterans.
Those coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's why we started over the years that has changed. We have no effect on Korean War veterans did not veterans veterans of Desert Storm on into Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now we have many folks you're veterans who served you are not combat veterans who bring other things into our program, veterans, active duty service members. We had a tremendous open door with the active-duty community which is incredible try to help folks get the skills they need before something bad happens in their life to be able to move forward and then the first responder community so more more police officers and firefighters. Those in the first responder community dealing with many of the same things and then the fourth community would be spouse exactly men or women, but the spouses of those who served primarily what we deal with are those who are struggling with some degree of trauma now again I can be combat trauma. It can be trauma related to adjuster service more broadly particular in the first responder community. Maybe it's trauma that they experience as a child, many experienced childhood sexual trauma and other traumas as it shook the child his children.
They take into the military.
They take into their service. Whatever it is they dealt with or saw experience exacerbated the problems and now they are overwhelmed that trauma from the passage become something is prevented any kind of forward movement. As you mentioned, they often then will get involved in taking care of that themselves self-medicating through drugs and alcohol.
Other illicit behaviors and all those things come together to create a very, very hopeless situation for the service member for the first responder and for their families. In many cases, someone who has survey have a family.
Maybe they spent 20 years in the military may be much less, but they come back a different person. If there's a physical handicap is something you know, that happens physically that's more understandable in maybe a psychological way. Then, as you mentioned the unseen wounds that push back stress and now learning more about the traumatic brain injuries notice things that alter behavior and alter thyroid personalities and so these families are struggling to get back what they had. They don't know the person I came home to them. They don't know what's going on what's wrong they can't understand even how to deal with that. We work with the servicemember the veteran the first responder through one of our programs with weeklong programs where they come to a facility that is there little bit different from place to place, but maybe a rancher retreat center typically pretty isolated economy, spent a week with us. We talk about what trauma is what it's not.
Most importantly we talk about how they can move forward how they can align their life to the life they were created to live that God is as God. He is the creator he created them with purpose with meeting with value and if they'll learn to align their lives to that than so many of the other things that have a full on them.
Although they don't go away. We don't forget the trauma still there. The memories of their but they no longer control us and we can move forward in spite of that, so will help that person who dealing with that trauma.
Again, whatever the cost to move into that and on the other side of that we do our best to help them reintegrate back into their families to help their families is are trying to understand some of these things providing context and ultimately hope and understanding that things are different, they will be different, but there is hope and there certainly can be a great life for those that will understand know what God has for them so very broadly and that's a is a very broad brush stroke, but that's what we do and you would try to walk.
Then the course of life beyond our program with these families.
Jeremy I'm just really moved by this I got a buddy of mine is a retired cop and lives at here with this.
Now we we moved from Nashville several years back to the famous place at here in Montana and we when I was in Nashville for many, many, many years. We lived there for over 35 years certainly have a lot of folks from Fort Campbell and I would hear from chaplains and so forth where they are struggling with you spouses would wake up in their husband and usually was a case in this particular thing with with the have a load of 45 be sitting up there and in this cup that I do out here that he said it's taken me several years to stick my head bleed off from just the high alert that he was on a work night shift in Seattle for years. When you can imagine, and that the intensity of vigilance and in I don't think people have a great understanding of what it cost a human being to stay on that level of vision. Talk about that because I'm sure you're seeing this with these first responders.
That's one of the struggles of first responders have is that there always on and there's not a break when you look at someone who is on military deployments.
A lot of crazy things can happen over the course that deployment very traumatic things can happen over the course that deployment and then they come home now. They may go back with. There's a break there's physical separation there's time, separation, emotional separation and hopefully will be able to get some help in that process and many don't.
That's why we exist.
However, in the first responder community same traumatic events can take place. It's a day in and day out series of events, a chaplain with our local fire department here in one of the firefighters described this way I think is such a great picture. He said one minute your scraping up the remains of a child who was killed in a car accident and then you have to go back to the station and change her uniform because now there's a community pancake breakfast. You need to be part of. There's never an opportunity to deal with what you've had to deal with and so again the self-medication and just no harmful destructive behaviors, then those behaviors are dealt with by families.
As you mentioned an incident has to be a context for that and that's why you were not a clinical program. Although there is a place for that. I'm not against that but were not that what we do is try to put what has happened.
What is happening in its right context, as those have been created by God when you talk about the emotional toll the physical toll and then the spiritual toll if there's not a spiritual context relationship with God, then it is very very difficult. I would suggest impossible to move forward in a meaningful way until you get that that taken care of.
Will said, I agree that that the understanding of God's provision and faceless and and lovingkindness in the midst of such a horrific thing is a hard thing for people to wrap their hearts and minds around, and yet that is the path towards healing. Are you seeing for example those involved in child protective services and so forth that are scarred by some the things it had to do. They come into your program as well. We have these conversations a lot that the short answer is no. There is a criteria for being a part of our program veteran act to be servicemember first responder or spouse. However, we regularly have folks to reach out to as many of the medical profession. We've expanded some of our understanding of what a first responder is to include nurses and events. In many cases those who are working are peripheral to some of the first responder areas where dispatchers things like that that will bring you to try to help so we don't have a program specifically for many other areas where there is trauma you you mention a great one child protective services that we do our best to provide other resources. Written resources books our website. We have hundreds of videos as many other resources as we possibly can to provide help to those were struggling for other reasons. Again, this is just an extraordinary work that you guys are doing. I am thrilled to learn more about you all in and find out what you do and I'm talking to Jeremy Stocker from muddy Oaks foundation Mrs. Peter Rosenberg.
This is hope the caregiver. Their website is muddy out. Without this emollient foundation audiobooks programming.org get my audiograms on ramps.board and see more about Richthofen Québec movement is hope for the caregiver will be right back and Peter Rosenberger many years ago when my wife Grace became a AA PT. She sold the importance of quality prosthetics. He saw the importance of the support team and people that could help her regain her life after losing both legs. She had this vision of creating an organization that would help others do the very same thing, appointing them to Christ and for more than 17 years we been doing just that. We purchased supplies. We thinned equipment and we trained recent teams over to West Africa. We could working with the country of Ghana. Several clinics over there now and each week more people walk because of Gracie's vision 2011. We watched the new program outreach to family caregivers.
Drawing on my mail 36+ years as Gracie's caregiver through medical nightmare for insights have learned all of it the hard way to fellow caregivers to help them stay strong and healthy will take care of someone is not you would be part of this go out to stand without.com/giving state with a calm/giving. Help us do more steady without reaching the wound and those careful steady without.com/giving. We let the back of Peter Rosenberg. This is the program for you as a family caregivers. We are talking Jeremy from muddy Oaks foundation foundation. It's muddy Oaks programs.board about their work in with active-duty veterans of combat wounded first responders and still be more that come their way that they are also able to at least point in the right direction.
They have very specific programs for those individuals that want to talk about that.
I mention the part about his retired cop, I got another guy that was talking to who was share for I think almost 30 years and he said something to be none of this is come up in the car. I can imagine it hasn't come up the conversation, but I wanted to talk but he said I was so enmeshed in being around bad guys that I did know how to connect with normal, decent people sure is that something that did you guys aggressively within and talked about so maybe not that specifically, but when you asked earlier. If we have other folks are doing with trauma such child protective services folks come from our programs. We don't we try to provide as many resources as we possibly can to to anyone who struggling trauma is a universal human problem is not reserved for those who serve in the military and law enforcement of fire service but the reason we limit who can attend our program to those categories that we've already discussed is because those who have served and those are the areas whether in the military during the first responder community. They really have in many ways, either out of necessity of her chest out of habit and times erected walls around their lives where they won't allow people who are not in that world to speak into their life.
In the example that you just gave a police officer could say there's no one that understands what it's like to be me to do the work that I do to deal with the things that I do. I spend my time around. The worst that society has offer all the time. People that haven't done that can't possibly know how to help me that's a that's a out I was to have at least it feels like a valid concern and a valid comment or position. So when we set up our programs. Everyone who instructs our program everyone he teaches a class or lead to small group of the week that there with us. Every one has been to our program has come through our program as a graduate has been trained by us for over a year to be able to lead those classes to lead the small groups which means there approaching the students from a position of lived experience.
The police officers who can look at another police officer and say I know exactly what you're dealing with.
Because I done that I was there I was where you are. I sat where you're sitting.
And then I came to this place.
I learned some things I want to help you is very much a peer to peer mentor mentorship type of relationship. Same with our veterans and our servicemembers. I know where you've been.
I know where you are. I've been there myself. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm starting to move forward and you know, in particular in these these areas that were discussing there so unique in society, and they almost lend support, self isolation, your separate from everyone else you need someone who's been there to speak into your life to at least initially tear down the walls so that truth can be spoken and has been very very helpful for us. What is a success story that comes to your mind that just obviously just gripped your heart that you look at is that this is lower doing this kind of thing was what was one of those, standard. There are so many we had over 4000 people come through one of our weeklong programs and we seen so many incredible things happen. Thousands and thousands of folks are spoken to in other venues so you what's top of mind right now. We started this week. One of our first responder program to tapping right now and so our first responder program was really something that was started out of need first responders came to us and said we need what you're doing with veterans we started to work with them couple years ago we had a police officer from the Tulsa PD and it was a time when a lot of crazy things were happening in Tulsa.
In particular, there had been a murder of police officers and other incidents involving police officers. He came because he tried everything else. He was about to lose his job came to our program and that God work in his life radically since that time we've had over 50 Tulsa PD currently serving police officers attend our program and he went back he said God work in my life. This is changed everything for me still there. He still working and not only that, but he is bringing his brothers and sisters in blue from that department to come to the program and that is a success story because that's God working in a life turning a life around and redeeming that life for the benefit of others.
Those are those are deeply moving stories to hear that because as I've talked to some of these law enforcement that the, the suicide rate among combat veterans and and Linda veterans and what that all of our veterans at the guest is still 22 yeah Emily, it's hard to know the numbers lag effect is in a meeting last week and they said were two years behind out of the lie that is but we say it's about 22 a day. We don't know the exact number the first responder number has gone up to over four they stay for half a day because of the pandemic, and other things guides it's a horrible horrible situation. First responder community the numbers aren't as good because not a central database but they're very high as well. Multiply sausage for an violence in the carnage that is left in the wake of those nebulous horrific events of the kids and and family members and parents. The you know just it's it's indescribable. And we have a responsibility to care for these individuals who have put themselves on the lineup is not in Ryan God bless you all for what you doing. Muddy Oaks foundation mighty oak programs.org muddy Oaks programs that or this gemstone echoed this dispute arose, but with hope for the caregiver and work glad to bring this to you all to to to learn about this program to see how people are rising up and meeting in the God is obviously put this on your heart.
You've been on so many different media programs and outlets talking about this and God bless you for what you're doing but Jeremy immediately any last thoughts before we go here. I think the one last thought I would always have is there is always hope.
So many think that life is hopeless. There is no direction. There's no purpose there's nothing that can be done is always something that can be done. There's always so are people who really want to help you get there so I reach out Don Stanhope was placed will said thank you very much Jeremy stomach her muddy Oaks programs.org and is the muddy Oaks foundation. Please God take a look and just see how you can be a part of this how you could point people to their services of wheat we are asking for you to be able to connect folks to this wonderful program you going to know people that are hurting. Let them know about it. Okay, don't just stand on the sidelines muscular sleeves rolled up a list reaching the people's heartache and point them to safety. Jeremy, thanks so much for being a part of the program today. I would have you back on some of the salty ongoing conversation.
Great ovation center. I really appreciate