Yesterday, my husband and I took off on our bikes and rode the beautiful countryside of Central Minnesota. Our destination… a small town in Central Minnesota called Sauk Centre. Sauk Centre’s claim to fame is that it was the birthplace and home of famed author Sinclair Lewis.
However, there is something much more important about this small town than being the birthplace of a famous author. Tucked away slightly off Highway 71, there is some sprawling acreage with several old buildings that once housed a Girl’s School in the early 1900’s and later a boy’s correctional facility. As we parked our bikes, we see a bonfire burning in the middle of the grounds, and as I walked the lawns, I noted signs signifying the mission of this place, a mission committed to making a difference in the lives of Vets… Promises Made. Promises Kept.
The Eagle’s Healing Nest
The Eagle’s Healing Nest was born out of the commitment of a mom to her child. Melony Butler’s child came home from combat in the Middle East with injuries that could not be seen with the naked eye… the “invisible wounds of war”… those types of wounds that can result in self-medication (drug and alcohol addiction), homelessness, and… suicide.
The Veteran’s Administration’s, as with any Federal Government program, was mired in red tape and a cookie cutter approach as the result of rules and regulations. A program that was just unable to be tailored to fit the individual needs of men and women returning from war.
As I am writing this post, I just heard a statistic on CBS’ Sunday Morning show… “one of six Veterans has chemical dependency issues”. That is a staggering statistic… one of six of our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers are struggling with addiction. Addiction… an approach to deal with pain that we know does not work. Self medication does not cure the invisible injuries of war… it only causes further damage.
It was important for me to visit the “Nest” this weekend… this weekend of Memorial Day. Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have died defending our great country… our country which stands for Freedom… Independence…, and Pride.
I have always had a great sense of patriotism because my Dad was a proud Veteran of WWII, a man who came home home from Europe a proud and patriotic Captain in the Army Corp of Engineers… a man who ultimately ended up weakened and broken as his alcoholism slowly chipped away his self-worth. However, he never stopped being a proud Veteran of Foreign Wars… a patriotic and proud American.
For those who have not served on foreign lands, we cannot understand the impact of war on the psyche. We have not experienced what the men and women who serve have seen or had to do when they have been called into action. Only Vets can understand what Vets are going through… and that is the beauty of the Eagle’s Healing Nest.
Melony and her staff give the tools and resources to help those Vets who have tumbled into the depths of depression, PTSD, chemical dependency, and homelessness, but it is the Vets who are calling the “Nest” home who are the ones helping each other… Vets helping Vets heal…
I am humbled that I was able to visit and tour this place of honor. I am grateful that I was told about this beautiful place of HOPE… this wonderful place of healing. I walked away committed to creating awareness for this organization that helps save lives for those who have fought for my freedom… and yours.
On this Memorial Day, I would ask that you embrace your patriotism by placing your hand over your heart and bow your head in honor for all those who have served and given their lives for our country. To shake the hands of those in uniform and thank them for their sacrifices. I ask you to check out eagleshealingnest.com and learn more about this great non-profit organization…
If you would like to help refurbish some of the older buildings so that more Vets can find healing, I will be starting a campaign to raise some funds to help provide materials to update countertops and floors in some of the buildings. You can send me a message through this blog page and I will let you know how and where to donate.
As I close this blog post, I would like to share my morning meditation reading from Marianne Williamson’s A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections: “Breakdowns often precede the greatest breakthroughs. And when the pain is greatest is often when we’re on the brink of the greatest realization…”. Our Vets at Eagle’s Healing Nest are at their greatest pain when they walk onto the grounds, and it is through their work at the Nest where they find their greatest realizations and can come back into the land of the living…
My post today is written in honor of all who have given the greatest sacrifice… their lives.
In honor of their families who have given the greatest sacrifice… their loved one’s lives.
To my friend, Jill Stephensen aka “Ben Kopp’s mom”… for keeping Ben’s light burning brightly,
giving Hope, Faith and Love to others…