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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Just what is a Machesah Healing Room?

Take a deep breath and imagine with me for a moment. Imagine a room that is devoid of any irritations or stressors. Imagine a healing space that is designed for calming and to stimulate the central nervous system to help reverse the effects of trauma. Imagine entering this area and feeling almost as if you were in the womb- safe and protected.

The Snoezelen Multi-Sensory Environment space is colorful and explores all of the senses, allowing the brain and central nervous system to deeply relax and heal.

The meaning of “Machesah” is simply a safe haven. Our executive director, Devorah England discovered this concept and technology while travelling in Israel. She spent some time at the Shiloh Therapy Center in Shiloh. This center is dedicated to helping families, children, and soldiers to have the resources they need to heal from PTSD and other wounds of terrorist attacks and wartime stressors.

When Devorah entered the Machesah healing room in Shiloh, she felt as if she immediately transcended the    worries, concerns, and stressors of the day. She was able experience the gentle music, swaying colors, and healing visual stimuli and activities and allowed her brain and body to decompress. She heard the stories of people whose lives had been changed by their time there. Her vision as executive director of Wounded Warriors – Sons and Daughters of America is that the Wounded Warrior Restoration Center would use this same technology to be a part of the healing therapies offered to help restore families and save the lives of wounded warriors. This therapy has proven to be especially helpful for combat wounded who are dealing with PTSD and TBI.

The technology used in the Machesah room was invented by two Dutch scientists nearly twenty years ago. Their research led them to discover that a multi-sensory environment allows for a complete rewiring of brain circuits in brain-injured and brain-traumatized patients. They also found that it heightens relaxation and creates a deep sense of grounding in those who do not live with the symptoms of trauma. Click here to find out more about the Snoezelen Multi-Sensory Environment.  

Wounded Warriors – Sons & Daughters of America is currently in process to secure a Snoezelen system and training via grants and fundraising.



A big part of our vision at the Wounded Warriors Restoration Center is the idea that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment method. A recent article from the Army Times expounds upon this philosophy and shows research that demonstrates this truth.  Click here to read this great article.

The reason we will strive to offer so many varied treatments is because not everything works for everybody.

Our work at the Wounded Warriors Restoration Center will integrate many different kinds of healing therapies to attack symptoms and bring increased awareness to all that exacerbates the combat injuries of those who served honorably. Here are just a few of the modalities that will be offered:

  • Family integration.
  • Retreat atmosphere allowing for camaraderie and the power of shared experiences.
  • Green therapies encouraging a connection back to the land and simple truths that enhance self-awareness.
  • Nutritional therapies and counselling.
  • Machesah Rooms.
  • Individualized Holistic Wellness Pictures.
  • Synchronicity System Treatments.
  • Outdoor Adventures and Trust-Building Scenarios.
  • Animal Therapies: Equine therapy and Farm Animals.
  • Physical Conditioning and Stress Reduction Strategies.
  • Ongoing Follow-up and Alumni Visits
  • Internship Program
  • More to come…





Click here to see the article online at the Delta County Independent News site.

We appreciate the time and energy spent by local journalist, Kathy Browning, in the piecing together of this great article. Many locals are responding with much excitement to this article and the implications that the Wounded Warriors Restoration Center will have for the local economy. Many see and understand the far-reaching effects of the healing that will be sown into generations of families that have been wounded by the terrible effects of war.

Here’s the article:

Over 600,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 have been diagnosed with PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.

“There’s been over 2 million who have served in both fronts,” Debbie England, executive director and co-founder of Wounded Warriors SAD, said. “That’s a huge number to be coming back with those types of symptoms.”

Her husband, Rod England who passed away in 2010 from cancer, and Debbie founded Wounded Warriors Americas Sons and Daughters in 2004. Their oldest son, Robert, was hit by an IED in 2004. So, in October 2004 they established their organization.

“Because I spent a lot of time at Walter Reed with my son, we had amazing blessings as far as healings,” England said. “He was able to stay in the military, but from my experience at Walter Reed and talking with other families, I realized there was a great need for what was going to happen to the veterans once they were discharged. Back then they discharged everybody.”

The result was a backlog in cases. So vets went from receiving disability within six months of being discharged to almost three years. Today it’s almost four to five years.

Devorah's passionate and spirit-filled leadership style has been a huge catalyst as we work towards the goal of serving wounded combat veterans and their families at the Wounded Warrior Restoration Center.

Wounded Warriors SAD focused earlier on helping vets financially. “We started doing fundraisers to help them pay mortgages, car payments, food. We even in the past sent money for people to go to job interviews. We purchased special equipment like shoes that the VA didn’t cover,” England said.

England had several military friends with PTSD. She explained, “It’s not an injury, so to speak, but the symptoms of it can cause different illnesses. This is stress related. Plus the drugs they were being put on when they were coming back caused more problems. It’s like a band-aid situation. You put on a band-aid over a wound. It covers it, but doesn’t really heal it. That’s what the drugs were doing. It was more like a time bomb.”

Her son is currently stationed at Fort Carson, which has the highest rate of volatile incidents. “The military is coming back very angry. There isn’t any help for what they are going through. Fort Carson has had over 20 incidents this year in murder or acts of violence,” she said. “That just elevates our mission.”

She has studied and researched PTSD treatments. In Israel, where both the military and civilian population live with the threat of attacks all the time, their rate of PTSD for the entire population is just five percent. For just the military population in the U.S., it’s 90 percent.

“I realized the big issue was the way [Israel] treats their PTSD contrary to how we treat PTSD in the United States. They have trauma centers. They also have healing rooms which soothe and de-sensitize their emotions back to a normal state,” England said.

One of the treatments that will be available at the Restoration Center in Crawford will be Dr. Chris Kaufmann’s Synchronicity wave system. It runs on frequencies of light and colors, and is good with traumatic head injuries.

The diet at the center will consist of 85 percent fresh and raw, including juices, and the other is 15 percent protein. That is the diet that is recommended for PTSD. A raw chef will be on staff to prepare meals. A health professional and a certified counselor will also be on staff.

Kalvin Evans, an Air Force veteran, is the program director. He has a background in Outdoor Adventure. The outdoor programs will give participants opportunities for hiking, camping, kayaking and team building initiatives. “It gets them outside. That’s the goal,” Evans said. “It has a healing effect working with them and minimizing the amount of stimulus you would get in the city.”

The vets will see deer, wild turkeys and farm animals like goats and chickens on the property. There will be horses for equine therapy.

“We’re looking at making this a self-sustainable ranch where we will grow our own food and work with animals. We want to give them an opportunity to get outdoors in a different area where there is peace and quiet, and a chance for them to relax,” Evans said.

Pictured left to right: Devorah England, WW - SAD Executive Director, Kalvin Evans, Wounded Warriors Restoration Center Program Director, Carolyn Ramey-Kennedy, Nursing/Medical Support Staff are excited about the many opportunities that will be available to help change lives for the better.

“A lot of times when they come back they’re thrust into a situation where their de-briefing is maybe a few days. Maybe, if they are lucky! Then they are told to go on and live their lives without the proper tools . . . We want to help them in their healing journey. Not just for the soldiers but for their families as well,” Evans said. His father had PTSD from the Vietnam War.

Carolyn Ramey-Kennedy is also on staff and is Kalvin’s mother. She has been nursing since 1971. She was going to be an RN, but her husband wanted her to be a nursing home administrator. She did that for 10 years. Her last nursing home had 100 beds with 100 employees and contractors. She has worked in emergency rooms and hospitals.

Because of her wide experience, she can wear many hats at the Restoration Center. She does have her license in nursing.

Sgt. Daniel Carpenter was a combat medic, non-commissioned officer. He permanently came out of the military in 2009. He has severe PTSD from being a ground medic. He had a head injury and degeneration in his lower back. At the Restoration Center he will be a peer mentor. “I can tell the guys all the things the lodge is going to offer for them, the treatments, the different therapies. I’m saying that from the perspective of one of them, a veteran. Because I have been there and done the same things they’ve done,” Sgt. Carpenter said.

The closing date for the Crawford property is July 16. With the lodge are two staff houses which are solar powered. The lodge is surrounded by 94 acres of beautiful land under the watchful eye of Needle Rock. England said from local historians she has learned Needle Rock was a gathering place for Ute Indians who called it a place of healing.

They hope to be ready by late August and September to begin helping veterans start their healing journey.

For more information, visit

You can help by being a fundraiser event sponsor, by volunteering at the Restoration Center or at fundraising events or by monetary donations.





We've been told that a good way to understand the experience of PTSD is the analogy of "The Incredible Hulk". Suddenly, without your permission, you are transformed into someone you don't want to be.

Daniel Carpenter, a distinguished member of our board, shared a bit of the story of his own personal struggles with PTSD and other combat injuries just a few months ago. We’ve been so busy working on getting this project up and running that we haven’t taken the time to share his compelling experiences.

It’s time to get the word out on what PTSD does on a personal level in our combat wounded veterans. This blog and part two of the same will open your eyes to the reality that hundreds of thousands of combat veterans wrestle with every day. His story is just one of millions that could be told about the horrors of PTSD and other injuries and how they wreak havoc in lives.

Daniel is well on the way toward healing and is planning to support the healing of others, like him, who feel like the “Incredible Hulk.” He feels that his work with WW-SAD will give him the chance to give back to others who are just beginning their healing journey.

Here are a few things to give you some understanding of what Daniel means. In the next Incredible Hulk blog, we’ll tell about Daniel’s overwhelming and distressing experience with PTSD by sharing excerpts of our interview. As always, stay tuned!

Daniel sent me this clip to help me understand a little of what PTSD is like: Click here to view.

If you’ve never seen this movie, you should be aware that powerful rage overtakes Dr. David Banister and despite his best efforts to control this rage that it turns him into a different person. He always seems to hurt the ones that he loves. This is the daily and very real struggle that many of our servicemen and servicewomen returning from the conflicts all over the globe experience daily.

This inability to control oneself affects their relationships, families, careers- basically it tends to wreak havoc in every possible social sphere. Check out the next in this series next week when we delve into Daniel’s personal and heartbreaking story. Join us in realizing that there is much to be done to confront this problem and to give our wounded combat veterans the fighting chance to enjoy life with their families.


Donate now and become a part of that change!


The mailbags aren't full yet, but we are encouraged when we hear from each of you. Thanks so much for this heartfelt letter. It keeps us moving forward in pursuit of our vision to save lives and facilitate healing for our wounded military and their families.

Hello Devorah and Kalvin,

Just now I discovered your website and have been gratified to read about your fund-raising efforts to create a healing retreat for Wounded Warriors. Your stories are very touching and inspirational; I write to congratulate you on your vision and wish you success in this sacred project. I regret that I am not in a position to help you financially; all I can send you at this point are prayers and hope.

As we know all too well, there are many wounded warriors among us. I am married to one. Stephen returned from Vietnam with a severed thumb, Purple Heart and a case of PTSD that was only diagnosed a couple years ago. We are fortunate that he received good counsel which enabled him to jump through the VA hurdles, obtaining a 100% disability rating. Many others are not so lucky.

The VA hospitals provide much needed medical care, but seem to have little to offer in the way of treatment for PTSD, which is why centers like the one you are trying to put in place are so needed and important.

When – not if – your retreat center is built, we would love to come and see it. Although we live in Minnesota, we have family in Colorado and visit as frequently as possible.

If you have an e-mail or snail mail list, I would appreciate it if you would please put us on it and keep us informed of your progress.

Wishing you success in your mission and sending gratitude for all that you’re doing.


Meet Ronie Kendig, who has turned her passion for wounded warriors and their healing into a stellar book series titled "Discarded Heroes"


Ronie Kendig, who writes self-proclaimed “rapid-fire fiction” has written some amazing books that will really be a help to veterans and their families who are seeking to heal from the aftermath of combat. Kalvin Evans, our program director, has read the first three and highly recommends them to wounded warriors who like to read as a way to process their experiences.

We here at Wounded Warriors – Sons and Daughters of America strongly believe that facilitating a healing journey means that we use whatever high quality tool that comes our way and these books are incredibly insightful and fun to read!

Ronie Kendig has done a stellar job in her “Discarded Heroes” series to tell the stories that need to be told. They will not only help many understand what it is like for those suffering from PTSD, TBI, and other war-related injuries, but they will give hope to those who are experiencing the injuries first-hand.

Check out her site for more info and to purchase her books:

Click here for Ronie Kendig’s bio.



Where are you planning to go for vacation this year? A quiet Caribbean beach? Perhaps Disney with the kids? How about an adventure in the mountains?

Do you realize that for many servicemen and women that vacation becomes a word that holds no meaning for them?

All expenses paid, luxury accommodations, and transportation to the hospital. Surely our wounded combat veterans deserve something better!

How can this be? Long deployments, limited finances, and stressful reintegration back to their home life. All of these factors add to a long list of reasons why vacation may seem to be just beyond their reach.

Let’s add an injury or wound to the mix, shall we? How easy is it to go on vacation with someone who is having trouble dealing with reality? How easy is it to “get away from it all” when you can’t hold down a job because of your Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? How easy is it to adjust to a non-handicapped world?

What if the most relaxing time that you’d had in the recent past was an extended stay in the hospital?

Can you see why we are so passionate about what we will be doing at the Wounded Warriors Restoration Center?

We’ll be offering families the chance to come and focus on healing while on an all-expenses paid vacation in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. They’ll experience healthy spa food, holistic therapies, adventures, all-out fun and a chance to breathe deep. This is the vision, and it will make a healing impact that will affect this generation and generations to come.

Please consider partnering with us to help many wounded servicemen, servicewomen and their families enjoy the time of their lives. Click on the Contributions button on your left to get started now.

This '80's cartoon's theme song included lines like these: "He never gives up, He'll stay till the fight 's won. G.I. JOE is there!

I was born in 1972. When people in my generation were young, many of us would come inside from play and watch the cartoon,”GI Joe.” The show was a sterilized cartoon depiction of war and the good guys always won and never seemed to be affected by the weaponry, explosions, and destruction that make up the heart and soul of war. It’s easy to see why. Did the good guys ever die? No.  Did the bad guys ever bleed? No. Were non-combatants ever in the way? No. Did any of the heroes ever suffer from PTSD? No. One thousand times, No.

Unfortunately, real war is not this clinical. There is real blood. The military member that is wounded either physically or emotionally cannot just jump back up and start fighting in the next episode as if nothing ever happened. At times, we have an improper expectation of our servicemen and women. We expect them to never give up and never surrender. This is one of the reasons that we have a stigma that is associated with PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, even the name has a stigma attached to it. It’s a disorder not an injury. “GI Joe never had PTSD, and neither should you recruit! Suck it up and get back out there!”

So many of our military who have served honorably fear coming forward with their symptoms of PTSD because they assume that they will be looked down upon and given little room for advancement. We’ve spoken with many who attempted to mask their symptoms even while their lives were falling apart at the seams.  Some of these individuals came forward and had to deal with the painful stigma of PTSD.

One former military member, Ron Capps, commented on this phenomenon in Time magazine’s blog recently:  ”Here’s the rub. It is entirely honorable to be wounded in the service of one’s country, but Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is seen as breaking under the stress of combat or as a pre-existing condition. Some service members view PTSD as weakness. The services apparently do as well: a blood-and-bone wound, or a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), warrants award of the Purple Heart medal; no Purple Heart medal is authorized for PTSD. Importantly, PTSD is caused by some outside influence, not—as in all other mental health illness—something internal. The trauma that brings on PTSD changes the way the brain functions and the physical size of parts of the brain. It is a wound.

Read more:

We need to allow our wounded combat veterans the time and space  that they need to heal from their inner wounds as well as their outer wounds. They need connection. They need healing in their families. They need to learn how to be themselves again. This is all possible especially when we get rid of the stigma and accept the fact that they have been through hell and back and need the time and space to make a full recovery.


Knowing that PTSD is a wound and that it can be treated with hands-on holistic therapies can give hope to many who feel trapped by the stigma of PTSD.

Hope. There are safe places that help facilitate the healing journey and the WW-SAD Restoration Center will be one of them. Not just for the wounded veteran but for the whole family.

Please donate to help this dream become a reality.



We want to come alongside and serve wounded warriors and their families and help them to become even greater overcomers!

This current news story is just one of tens of thousands of examples out there of who we want to serve at the Wounded Warriors-SAD Restoration Center.



Click here for the full story of a young man with five kids who served three tours in Iraq and his struggle to survive here stateside.

They will come.

Devorah, WW-SAD executive director, walked the property with one of the members of the WW-SAD board,  Sgt Daniel Carpenter, who was discharged honorably with a full array of combat injuries in 2009. Daniel was so excited to envision himself and his family enjoying the retreat center. He could easily look forward to the day when he and his kids will fish in the river, ride horses, attend different therapies, sit around the bonfire telling stories and kick back on the deck with some green smoothies. Yum.

We shared some bittersweet moments and we all laughed and cried together as he told us the stories of his time in service; some of  his and his family’s sacrifices; and some of the traumatic ordeal of dealing with PTSD. We took video of these conversations so that you can join in and learn more about how this will impact our combat wounded and their families. Look for them on the website in the weeks to come.

Daniel will tell you that he is not one to seek the limelight and it was difficult for him to talk about his experiences on camera. Yet, he sacrificed his time and poured out his heart so that others could understand the immense need for the work that we are trying to do here at WW-SAD.

He even shared that he and a combat buddy had spent time in Iraq dreaming about a place “just like this.” …a place that they could be safe and share a sacred healing space while surrounded by others who share the common bond of combat. He wept as he shared that this friend had committed suicide because of the difficulty with coping with PTSD and other combat-related injuries. He wondered if the outcome would have been different if he could have come to the Wounded Warrior-SAD Health Retreat.

Daniel shared from his heart about how he understood what his friend was going through. He’d thought of suicide many times himself and has been able to overcome because of his counselling and other treatments. He also shared that there was hope. That he had hope to get better, maybe even be able to help others heal someday. He sees his work with Wounded Warrior-SAD Health Retreat and his chance to experience it with his own family as a part of the redemption that he needs to heal from and cope with his injuries.

He can’t wait to be one of the first families to attend the retreat center for adventures, fun, camraderie, wellness treatments and lots of smoothies! (YUM!)

Our goal is to offer fresh and delicious healthy foods that our wounded veterans and their families are sure to love!