By Jamie Warner –
June 25th through the 29th marked the second annual Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs First Responders’ Men’s Legacy Program. As Team Leader Kevin Schroeder, a USMC veteran and recently retired Police Officer of over 20 years, pointed out to our Warriors during his class on Legacy, it was no accident that these six law enforcement officers and six firefighters were present for this Program. In fact, five of them were last minute adds to the roster just days or hours before it’s start. God had a purpose and a design for the men in attendance. He brought them and the MOWP team together to inextricably weave their lives and their stories together and to set the captives free.
Team Leader Justin Howell, a former Marine and current Police Officer in Virginia, said, “It was a powerful week seeing the transformation in progress from hopelessness to hopeful. These men left with a sense of hope they hadn’t had before.” The safe, confidential environment of the Legacy Program allowed them to unburden themselves, deal with the issues, and move forward in freedom.
So much attention has been given to PTS and the Veteran community, and rightly so, because of the numbers of Veterans diagnosed with PTS post combat. It’s no longer surprising that our active duty and veterans struggle with these issues, and much help is being offered. That’s why Mighty Oaks exists – to help heal the brokenhearted, restore families, and change legacies. We are continually reminded during these Programs of just how similar the effects of service in the military and as a First Responder are. But unlike military combat trauma, which is often experienced in shorter, more concentrated periods of time, our nation’s first responders cope with these stresses and traumas on a daily basis over the span of an entire career. If we were to describe the military exposure to trauma, it’s often very intense and concentrated. For First Responders, exposure to trauma is a continual, slow drip over the course of years. “The men expressed that they never realized how many traumatic incidents they stuffed down due to having to consistently work non-stop,” added Justin.
As citizens, we forget the field of battle that our First Responders work in every day as they attempt to serve the population and preserve the peace. The Legacy Program gave them the opportunity to share, unload, see hope for the future, and get back into the fight.
You see, unlike the Veteran community where they have moved beyond the stigma of PTS, for First Responders, raising your hand and saying you need help could be a career ending move. The current misperception in these communities is that once a trauma induced problem is identified, the First Responder may no longer be fit for duty. Much like in the military, they are labeled “broken” and pulled from duty. But we at Mighty Oaks know better. And we have proof. Almost 2000 graduates of our Programs have proven that there is hope and healing after trauma. There is a better way to live our lives within the framework of the Designer: Authentic Biblical Manhood. And these 12 Warriors are no exception. They put in the hard work and began to heal and to repair their lives and families. They are Legacy changers.
Please join us in the fight for our nation’s First Responders. Pray for them and tell them about Mighty Oaks. Let’s continue to make an eternal difference.
By Jamie Warner –