(NewsNation) — Transitioning from military life to civilian life can be a challenge, but a group of military wives is working to change that.
Turning dreams into reality, Hope for the Warriors is making an impact on the lives of post-911 service members and their families. The organization was founded in 2006 by a group of military wives stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
These women saw firsthand the impact military service had on veterans and their families. Hope for the Warriors includes a list of programs spanning veteran and military spouse scholarships, job placement assistance and the Warriors Wish program, which grants deserving veterans a one-time wish to help them achieve a personal or professional goal.
Since its launch, Hope for the Warriors has expanded across the country serving more than 40,000 veterans.
Robin Kelleher, president and CEO of Hope for the Warriors, and U.S. Army veteran Kevin Bittenbender, a recipient of the Warrior Wish program, joined “Morning in America” to share a little bit more about what the organization has done for veterans and their families.
“The biggest challenge really is about the transition,” Kelleher said. “And it is can be very individualized, can be very different for each service member, and certainly their families as well.”
Bittenbender wanted to run a marathon, despite undergoing a double leg amputation. Hope for the Warriors helped him achieve his goal.
“They gifted me a handcycle on my first amputation and got me out of my comfort zone, and allowed me to reach my goals that I didn’t know that I was really capable of doing,” Bittenbender said. “The biggest thing was overcoming that fear and that depression I was falling into, where I would have probably committed suicide. They came into my life at a time where I was in my darkest moment, and allowed me to succeed. Just that one little push to get me out of that comfort zone and into a handcycle. It’s been a blessing ever since.”
Bittenbender said Hope for the Warriors provided him a purpose, a passion for something bigger than himself.
“They’ve reintegrated my family into their rehabilitation program … it incorporates the family of the foundation of family. And I think that’s one of the biggest things that’s missing from a lot of our veteran organizations that is just solely focused on the warrior and not the family,” Bittenbender said.
To learn more about Hope for the Warrior, you can visit their website.