Legendary musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Bret Michaels recently visited with wounded warriors and their families at our Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio.
Michaels specifically wanted to hear directly from the warriors on challenges they and their families face as they transition from military service, and assist them by being a voice and champion for their interests.
“I am here to hear their stories and suggestions,” Michaels said. “My family served in the military, my father and cousin and I have lived the life of being part of a military family.”
With Village communities in the San Antonio, Oceanside, Calif. and the Washington, D.C. areas, transitional housing through Operation Homefront Villages constitutes a vital program for wounded warriors and their families to live rent-free as they undergo rehabilitation and transition from military to civilian life. Upon placement in Village community, Operation Homefront counselors will set up a schedule that includes support groups, workshops, benefits briefings, and resume-writing classes. Once they have become self-sufficient, Operation Homefront will help them find suitable housing in the area they intend to live on a permanent basis.
“We want to thank Bret for joining us this afternoon and speaking to our residents and their families,” said Vice President of Programs Dino Sarracino. “It's clear he has a genuine passion for the welfare of our military families, and he’s a great advocate for our veterans.”
Reflecting on his nearly three-hour session with the San Antonio Village families, it was clear to Michaels that the effects of war go much farther than physical wounds alone, and more work needs to be done for those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and the caregivers who support them. He pledged to be an advocate for their needs.
Each furnished Village apartment – including the cost of financial counseling and other transition programs for residents – costs more than $15,000 per year with a total program budget of more than $1 million across all three Village locations. The program is made possible by generous contributions from individual donors, corporate foundations and partners. No federal funding is provided.
With apartment stays typically lasting six to nine months on average per family, there's always a waiting list, and with additional support and philanthropic contributions, Operation Homefront will continue to fill critical gaps for active-duty service members, wounded warriors, veterans and their families.
Also pictured with Bret Michaels is, left, Operation Homefront Vice President Dino Sarracino; center right, wounded warrior Kenny Walker; right, wounded warrior Stephen Jackel.