(PatriotWise.com) — Sarah Verado, the CEO of The Independence Fund, launched a program called Operation Resiliency, which reunites post-9/11 military combat veterans who have been impacted by suicide after returning home.
The group, which describes itself as “born out of grief,” was founded after Verado attended the funeral of one of her husband’s friends in 2018 when one of the other attendees told his friends, “See you at the next one.”
Veterans who participate in Operation Resiliency attend four-day retreats at no charge where they can reconnect with comrades so they have someone to call if they find themselves in a dark place.
The most recent retreat took place over the Veterans Day weekend in North Carolina.
Danica Thomas, whose husband in 2013 suffered a psychotic break and fatally shot two people before turning the gun on himself, told Fox News that if her husband had mental health services or support from programs like Operation Resiliency, “things could have been completely different.”
Danica, who serves as an ambassador for The Independence Fund, told Fox that the bonds of brotherhood formed through programs like Operation Resiliency could have helped her husband escape the feeling that he was alone.
Since its founding in 2018, Operation Resiliency has hosted retreats for over 500 veterans nationwide.
Army veteran Jason Murff, the founder of the Texas-based gourmet company Grill Your Ass Off, told Fox that Operation Resiliency recognizes that “even the toughest among all of us still need support.”
As part of last weekend’s retreat, Murff volunteered to teach a class on grilling steaks.
He told Fox that the experience of “gathering around a grill” does a lot to break down walls and foster friendship.
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