By: Elizabeth Renee Willis, Steady Warriors™ Ambassador
Our American heroes are honored and revered now more than ever. Because of the advancements in technology, we are given a front seat experience to their hard work and dedication. We see pasts awash with combat deployments and intense training sessions. We watch hearts break at family time spent apart and share in emotion as both victory and tragedy unfold before our eyes. The devotion it takes to fight for a country’s freedom is a rarity. One that we dare not take for granted.
When it’s all said and done, these courageous men and women don’t just “leave it all on the court” or in this case the battlefield. Years spent fighting for freedom can mean a lifetime spent struggling with the harsh aftermath. Do we ever stop to notice the reality of this sacrifice? Hundreds of miles away from where the fight is, and still our American heroes continue the battle day after day. No book, movie, or news report could ever do justice to the silent war that rages within.
This is where nonprofits like Warrior Spirit Project play a huge part in the lives and future of our brave men and women. By offering services that accommodate symptoms of PTSD and TBI, Warrior Spirit Project gives our service members, veterans, and first responders the opportunity to take healing into their own hands. Based on the premise that “a broken spirit can be more harmful than a broken body” they focus on offering a well-rounded healing process that targets spirit, mind, and body. This remarkable organization operates out of the southwest Dallas area and is dedicated to serving the entire DFW metroplex. Founders Charla and David Truesdale and Leslie Cromwell make it their mission each day to ensure that our American heroes are flourishing in every capacity of life.
Through three simple components, the mission is simple: to equip all service members, veterans, and first responders with diverse, research-based healing opportunities. Steady Warriors, Pit Bull Partners Rescue Mission and GOOD to GrOw or “Yoga, Dogs, Dirt” are the heart of the Warrior Spirit Project.
Steady Warriors “Yoga”
Steady Warriors yoga provides movement based classes in several locations throughout the DFW area. By providing a trauma-sensitive approach, clients faced with PTSD, TBI, depression, anxiety, or physical limitations find the environment to be both comfortable and beneficial. Based on the Warriors at Ease research and training program, the core of these classes is to allow for stress and anxiety to be replaced by a sense of calmness and steadiness. This is happens through a series of specific movements, breath patterns, and meditative practices that through research have been shown to “help regulate the nervous system.” All Steady Warrior yoga classes are led by certified and highly qualified instructors and incorporate all skill levels.
The Steady Warriors component also offers two additional strategies when dealing with whole-body healing. The first is called Integrative Restoration or iRest. Based on years of extensive research, iRest was created to target the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a person through one solid approach. By creating a deeply profound, yet conscious relaxation in the entire body “iRest effectively reduces PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and chemical dependency while increasing health, resiliency, and well-being.” iRest is used by healthcare organizations worldwide including the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense. The second strategy is called Memory Resolution Technique. This technique was created and trademarked by Peoplistic LLC, and is specifically designed to help resolve everyday emotional obstructions and bring relief to trauma induced symptoms. Steady Warriors uses this unique guidance and mind retraining to help clients adjust to civilian life, maintain mental health, and tackle any new disturbances that surface. Both of these strategies are offered by highly certified specialists practicing under the Steady Warriors program.
Pit Bull Partners Rescue Mission “Dogs”
Pit Bull Partners Rescue Mission works with active duty military, veterans, and first responders by partnering them up with pit bulls rescued from local animal shelters that have been specially trained as service animals. First and foremost, each dog is temperament tested and must pass several observational tests before receiving any specialized training. Each dog is then trained as a service animal with primary emphasis placed on psychiatric disability mitigation, emotional support, and companionship. Finally, dog and companion are paired; together they take adequate time to bond, train, and socialize. This unique connection has been tested and proven to provide long-term relief from severe trauma symptoms and helps the service member live a healthier and fuller life. Pit Bull Partners Rescue Mission continues to offer support even after the relationship between the companions has been established. Resources for financial assistance are available on an as-need basis as well as obedience classes and an ongoing community of support. Pit Bull Partners Rescue Mission is dedicated to ensuring that each member and service dog not only establish a great relationship, but continue to maintain a healthy living situation.
Good to GrOw “Dirt”
Good to GrOw is a community gardening program that was established with the sole purpose to give our heroes a tangible, hands-on experience in their personal healing process. Studies show that getting “in-touch” with the dirt provides a sensory experience that helps clear the mind, relieve built-up stress, and enhance mental focus. Research also shows exceptional findings that the microbes in the earth’s soil serve as a natural anti-depressant and stress reliever; making the term “dirt therapy” notably appropriate. This unique therapy approach contributes greatly to the mental and physical healing process; reaching a depth that even the best modern day medicine cannot get to.
Good to GrOw works with the local community in a couple different ways. First, it helps with the upkeep of existing floral, produce, and herbal plots by connecting volunteers with the opportunity to cultivate these gardens. Secondly, it works to establish new gardens in partnering venues such as schools, churches, community centers, and neighborhoods. The yield of each plot is given back into the community by serving nearby farmer’s markets, homeless shelters, and local families. By working and maintaining these gardens, volunteers are educated and equipped with essential skill-sets that prove beneficial to their future. Personal satisfaction and confidence are also gained as each of these heroes is able to participate in a far-reaching, greater purpose.
On the Front Lines
Although their prime of service may be just a memory, our heroes continue to sacrifice for us every single day. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is incredibly proud to be a part of a project and vision that continues to give back to those that have sacrificed so much for us. Warrior Spirit Project offers these incredible resources at no cost to active duty members, veterans, and first responders. By providing “yoga, dogs, and dirt,” Warrior Spirit Project is on the front lines every single day, dedicated to fighting alongside our greatest American heroes.
Find more information about this project at www.WarriorSpiritProject.org