Our goal is to advance the healing process of injured veterans and encourage them to assume power and responsibility for the success of their lives.
Impact of the Retreats - In the words of Leadership
Comments by LT. Gen. (Ret.) Frank Kearney at Whitefish Community Dinner
“I thanked the attendees for coming and thanked the Vietnam Veteran generation for making sure today's post 9-11 veterans were welcomed home as heroes. I told the audience that no soldier, sailor, airman, marine or coast guardsmen comes home from war unaffected and whether the scars are visible or invisible, they and their families are changed forever in ways the public does not and cannot understand. Over 60 percent of our new veterans do not return home to start their new life; they move to towns across the United States without a support network of family and friends to reintegrate into civilian society. So organizations like the Whitefish Veterans Support Team and our new partner the Commit Foundation are instrumental in assisting these veterans and their family find a network, build relationships and develop the skills needed to move forward in life. Without these great volunteers and donors, we would not be able to provide the grass roots efforts to help them process their combat and service experiences and become valuable contributing members of their new communities.”
Impact of the Retreats - In the words of the Veterans
Transitioning to life as a bilateral amputee is by no means simple, but Will’s perseverance and positive attitude helped him regain the confidence to live his life fully.
“There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it, never say ‘I can’t.“
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Major William E. Lyles doesn’t like to be called a “hero.” He thinks he was just doing his job. However, those who know Will may challenge his stated preference.
A gifted athlete, Will pitched for the Virginia Military Institute baseball team all four years before graduating in 2002. One year later he made a decision that would change his life forever — he accepted a commission in the United States Army. After completing two tours in Iraq, Will stepped on an IED on August 28th, 2010, just four days after his thirtieth birthday. He now wears two prosthetic legs.
Years past that fateful day, Will continues to experience gratitude for what he feels is a second chance at life.
“I know how lucky I am to be alive,” he said. “It’s almost like I’m living on borrowed time.”
Transitioning to life as a bilateral amputee is by no means simple, but Will’s perseverance and positive attitude helped him regain the confidence to live his life fully. He completed three years of intensive rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center in Houston, TX, during which time he met his beautiful future wife and Army nurse Sophia. They were married in the spring of 2015.
Borrowed time or not, Will has certainly and continues to make his mark on this world. Today he is both husband to Sophia and father to Alexis, 15, Kaitlyn, 13, William 9, and Gabby 6. He is currently working on an MBA at Rice University, where he earned a full scholarship.
Will demonstrates the strength of the human spirit and to many he is perseverance incarnate. He reports he would not trade his experience in the Army for anything in this world, even after it took both of his legs.
“There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it,” Will stated. Never say ‘I can’t.’ “
Thank you, Will, for your service and the lesson you teach us all about having determination and grace through life’s most difficult obstacles. While we respect your humble nature, you are still a hero in our eyes!
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“I have only been gone from Whitefish for a few days and I already miss the company and comfort I felt in Whitefish.”
“It's a great opportunity for us to get out and do what we used to do. Whitefish helped me realize that life isn't over with my injury.”
“I feel like I left a piece of my soul in Whitefish. The lasting relationships continue to foster my healing process.”
“My visit to Whitefish was the first time in 18 months that I slept peacefully and did not experience wartime nightmares.”
Molly and John Morrison
“Our trip to Whitefish was incredible. The volunteers and the COMMIT foundation worked tirelessly to provide all of us with time for introspection, growth as couples, exploration of the outdoors, meeting new friends, and a bit of fun as well! The volunteers opened their homes to provide a comfortable setting for difficult conversations about transitions and relationships, as well as wonderful meals and mountain views. We left Whitefish better prepared for our transition, with an increased support network, and a plan to continue our development further through contact with the COMMIT foundation and the amazing volunteers associated with the Whitefish Veterans Support Team.”
Contact Us:Whitefish Veterans Support Team200 Parkhill DriveWhitefish, MT firstname.lastname@example.org