When I dive I am filled with excitement. My heart begins to race! As I descend I have to clear my ears to relieve the pressure. In all cases pressure isn’t normal for the human body. In my case and so many other Wounded Warriors alike pressure had a effect on our wounds in a positive way. The pressure seems to relieve the pain. I don’t know if it re-fires the nerves like they were before my injury or if it puts everything back into proper place. Regardless what it does it helps immensely. Once my dive comes to a end and head to the car I am physically exhausted but my pain all most nonexistent. It lasts for almost three hours. As I continue to dive on a regular basis i meet fellow divers and some are fellow Soldiers. Trust is earned and camaraderie builds. A form of support system is built and a emotional hole begins to be filled.
On top of the many benefits diving provides for me I am sleeping longer and better. I suffer from PTSD and sleep is a huge issue for me for many reasons. Nightmares play a big part in the lack of sleep and I can’t remember having one since I begin diving. So to sum it up diving helps my pain, builds my self worth, and improves sleeping habits as it relieves stress better than any doctor or medication has. The Heartbeat foundation is saving my life!
Wounded Warrior Hero,
Wounded Warrior Family Member
“I know I have said this time and time again, but I just want you to know how much I appreciate everything you have/are doing to help our family. It has been a long rough road for us the past couple of months, and because of you and your resources we will not be displaced. I am so thankful.”
Tom and Carol Clark
“Words could never fully express how deeply we appreciate all you and your organization has done for us. So much love and support expressed in such practical ways every day! Your efforts on our behalf are a tribute to the Godly American spirit that lives in your ‘beating heart’!”
Chas is a member of the Stryker Team, 5th Brigade. He was on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan when an IED (improvised explosive device) struck his Humvee. The soldiers with him died; Chas lost his left eye. When Chas arrived at Madigan Army Medical Center at Ft. Lewis, Washington, he was without family. His parents were on a long-term mission trip in a Peru orphanage. Heartbeat paid for a flight from Peru to Ft. Lewis — family support meant everything to Chas’ recovery. We made all the reservations, but there is more. Our volunteers delivered home-cooked meals to the family daily during their reunion.
Thank you, generous donors and volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without you
Meet Mike Buccieri
An Army Seargant with the 54th MP Company out of JBLM. In 2011, his unit was on patrol in Afghanistan when it was ambushed. Mike was shot in the back, resulting in a hole the size of your fist. It tore through major muscles in his back and punctured not only his lung, but his liver and his kidney. He has been through 8 different surgeries to repair the damage from his injury.
To quote Mike: “My back hurts all day long. It radiates through my ribcage. The bullet completely destroyed one of my ribs. They did 3 surgeries through my stomach to get to the organs that needed to be repaired and so my abdominal muscles are useless. I can pretty much just walk.”
While working with an occupational therapist at Madigan Army Medical Center’s Warrior Transition Battalion, Buccieri learned about our Hippotherapy program. Hippotherapy, derived from the Greek word meaning “horse”, utilizes the rhythmical gait of the horse to normalize movement, strengthen deep core muscles and improve balance. The goal of hippotherapy, like other tools of occupational therapy, is to improve the daily functionality of the participant and Buccieri has noticed a difference already. He said he feels looser and able to bend forward at the waist much further than he could prior to attending the program. His goal by the conclusion of hippotherapy is to be able to touch his toes again. Additionally, just being in the presence of horses has had a big impact on his morale and pain levels.
There are also associated benefits to the physiological health of the rider.
Again, to quote Mike: “I recommend this program to people all the time. When I find out people are looking in to do hippotherapy, I’m like ‘you should do it, it’s the greatest thing ever.’ When I come here , it’s the best time I have all week,” says Buccieri.
“I can come here completely mad or hurting and grooming the horse, it just calms me down. It’s like having a best friend that you just get to play with for a couple of hours, and you’re actually getting exercise out of it as well.” “I can’t even explain how good it makes me feel. It takes everything else away. It makes me happy,” said Buccieri.
Going forward he said he hopes to continue to work with horses and would like to volunteer so he can help other wounded warriors recover through hippotherapy.
Meet Jason Laughlin…
…a Combat Medic who has served multiple tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a serious injury to his foot that has required multiple surgeries. Additionally, he has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Due to his injuries, Mrs. Laughlin was forced to quit her job to care for Jason and to drive him to his medical appointments. This pattern of having to quit their job is typical for spouses of wounded warriors. Faced with just one income, economic hardships are inevitable. This is exactly the case for the Laughlin’s. They were forced to go to local food banks and found themselves feeding outdated dairy products to their family with 3 children. Our brave wounded heroes and their families deserve more. The Laughlin’s had contacted another Army assistance organization but never received a return phone call. When Heartbeat was contacted, we reacted immediately. We provided a food gift card so the family could finally buy enough food. Below is a message we received from Mrs. Laughlin.
Thank you so much Ms Janice. Your kindness during this challenging time gives us so much hope and inspiration to keep going and also to be more involved in helping others. I enjoyed talking so much this morning, it was very therapeutic for me to get some of it out and really discuss my frustrations and discussing ways to move forward and educate othes wounded warrior families. I am beyond words at how quickly you were able to help and so very grateful. I will most certainly rest easier tonight. My passion is helping and I would be proud to be any part of your organization. You are an amazing individual and hope I have the pleasure of meeting you. I have attached several photos of our journey to include a family photo just so you can put our faces to our names I also discussed doing an interview with Jason and he is thrilled at the opportunity as he know how much I try to be more involved in the healing process for our wounded soldiers. Just let me know anything at all that you need, we are so very honored to help. Have a great day, talk to you soon!
The Laughlin family