*We apologize for not getting this message out before the holidays; however, we know that you will find the content relevant and we hope it is helpful.*
This time of year is a beautiful time of year, but it is also a difficult time of year for many as we remember the fallen. The Archangels organization name came from one of my U.S. Army deployments to Iraq in 2007-2008.
That deployment alone brings memories and thoughts of fallen friends SGT Robert Fairchild, SPC Ian Petersen, SPC Kelvin Baldwin, SGT AJ Arqueza, and IPLO Carl Fields. We think of them and their spouses, children, parents, and siblings that they left behind. We also remember the fallen families that have resulted from divorce and separation. We remember the lost dreams due to health issues and criminal mistakes. Indeed, this time of year can be very tough, as we see the worst in people with fights at stores, thefts, burglaries, robberies, and more. Finances are often strained, tempers too often flair, and hearts are broken.
At the same time as the President and CEO of the Archangels, I see amazing acts of kindness that defy logic and restore faith in humanity. In preparation for the 2019 holidays we were fortunate to receive support from a number of organizations such as Sunbelt Rentals, Gary Sinise Foundation, USAA, Krazy-Air / Elevate Trampoline Parks, Texas Roadhouse, Concord General Contracting, Arizona Disabled Veterans Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America (AZ), Veterans of Foreign Wars (Mesa), United Way (Mesa), and the US Army. These are just a few of the many incredible organizations that are changing the lives of people suffering during challenging times.
I am grateful to the Military Police Regimental Association for their desire to reach out to Soldiers and veterans and for partnering with the Archangels to fight PTSD, suicide, and other serious challenges. If you have read my previous articles for the MPRA, you know I feel passionately about the difference that can be made through serving others. Service is critical not just for those you serve but for your mental health as well.
My service to the Archangels is in a complete volunteer capacity because I find benefits and blessings through service. There are also numerous studies that have proven the importance of service. Specifically, a study on veterans published in 2018, reported that veterans who engaged in meaningful religious and spiritual activities such as seeking a higher power and forgiveness showed significant reductions in PTSD symptoms two months after the study began.
In previous articles I mentioned some of the many programs and projects we have done and are doing to fight PTSD such as free equine therapy clinics, community events such as our 5k, art clinics, and more, but one area I haven’t covered is the importance of spiritual well-being.
Before you throw your phone or computer at a wall or click on another story, I ask that you hear me out. I have often found that veterans feel they will practically set a church on fire if they walk into it. I have also found that veterans believe that they have done things that they cannot find forgiveness or peace for.
Please take that rucksack off your back and set it down.
Thank you for your service. You sacrificed your body, mind, and overall wellness. The time has come to forgive yourself and others. If you are going through tough times, reach out when darkness comes, but also reach out when times are good. Your service is not over and you are needed. You matter and you can be an angel, indeed an Archangel, that changes the world.
Let us fight together, one team, one fight.
Archangels website: www.archangel.rocks
Harris, J. I., Usset, T., Voecks, C., Thuras, P., Currier, J., & Erbes, C. (2018). Spiritually integrated care for PTSD: A randomized controlled trial of “Building Spiritual Strength”. Psychiatry Research, 267, 420-428. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.06.045