UNBROKEN WARRIORS

Looking for a worthwhile cause to donate money to, maybe even a bit of your time?

If so, think about Unbroken Warriors.

Most people, I am reasonably certain, have never heard of this organization.  So let me tell you about it, via the following excerpts from Kathleen Hopkins’ article in the Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press:

Michael Dowens doesn’t think 45 miles is a staggering statistic.

But, he does think the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide in the United States is.

So, the Holmdel police officer and U.S. Navy veteran walked the 45-mile stretch from Island Beach State Park to Sea Bright from Friday night to Saturday morning to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder and to raise money to treat veterans who suffer from it.

But the pain in his feet was nothing compared to the dehydration and soreness he endured in June after walking 237 miles from Holmdel to Washington, D.C. for the same cause.

For Dowens, 37, it is a way to serve without wearing a military uniform, he said.

Dowens in June founded Unbroken Warriors, a nonprofit to raise money to send veterans for treatment at The Refuge, a PTSD and trauma treatment center in Ocklawaha, Florida, where he underwent treatment for 76 days earlier this year.

Dowens, who served as a rescue swimmer in the Navy, battling pirates in Liberia, Somalia, Haiti and the northern Arabian Gulf from 2002 to 2006, said he suffers himself from PTSD and survivor’s guilt. He said he tried to re-enlist in the service nine times but was denied for medical reasons.

On Father’s Day 2015, he tried to take his own life, said Dowens, who has a son, now 3.

Then, he was admitted to The Refuge in January.

“I went in very angry and depressed,’’ he said. “I had survivor’s guilt. I came out a lot better than I was going in.’’

Dowens said the treatment costs $1,600 a day and usually lasts for 90 days, and most is not covered by insurance.

He said he realized, “you don’t have to wear a uniform to serve and I had the idea to start a nonprofit to help fellow veterans get the help they need.’’

So, he started walking.

In an administration where, based on its performance with VA hospitals, our veterans are often treated with little more than indifference and disrespect, it is this country’s disgrace that there are almost no places for people like Michael Dowens and his fellow sufferers to turn to.

Does that statistic – 22 veterans a day committing suicide – jump out at you as prominently as it jumps out at me?

If so, please go to the Unbroken Warriors facebook page, satisfy yourself that, unlike some “charities”, this one is about as sincere and heartfelt as they get, then click here and do what you can for our returning veterans.

Thank you.

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