Marines enlist Jimmy Miller Foundation
by Jim Miller
With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States Marine Corps faced a complex logistical, medical and moral challenge. It knew these wars would go on for years, and the physical wounds and emotional scars suffered by the brave men and women of the Marines would be long-lasting. The vast majority of Marines returning from the war zones were young, having volunteered to serve their country right out of high school. Many were returning ill, injured, and wounded at age 19 or 20 or 21. Their continuing service was in doubt. So the forward thinking leaders of this great fighting force thought outside the box.
In past wars, most notablyVietnam, veterans returned to little glory and little thanks. They were quickly discharged back into civilian life. If ill or injured, especially with the destructive conditions of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (“TBIs”), they were told “thanks, good-bye, and if you have any problems, go see the Veterans Administration.”
This time the Marine Corps was determined to do better by our true American heroes. Five years ago, two new units within the Corps were activated — the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West stationed at Camp Pendleton,California, and the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East headquartered atCamp Lejeune, North Carolina. Each Battalion has a command structure, and specially designed barracks and rehabilitation facilities, called the Hope andCareCenters. Marines are assigned to the battalions, and like all good Marines, given a tough and challenging mission — rehabilitate, and return to the operational units of the Marines, or to civilian life. The battalions are able to marshal all the resources necessary to carry out their mission — medical, psychological, therapeutic, recreational, and career counseling.
No more hasty thank you, good-bye, and good luck. Now it is stay, recover, and prepare for continuing success in life, no matter what the obstacles.
The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (“JMMF”) is proud and honored to serve the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West with our unique Ocean Therapy program, combining the core activity of surfing and the healing power of the ocean with professional occupational therapy and sports psychology. We’ve been doing Ocean Therapy with the Battalion for the full five years of its existence. We now provide out program all year round, every other Tuesday. Why do we do Ocean Therapy? Because from very early on, the Marines themselves told us, “it works; it saves lives.”
In our last Ocean Therapy session on the beach atCampPendleton, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia surfed with us. At the end of the session he announced he was determined to bring this all-important Ocean Therapy program to the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East.
Jim Miller and his wife Nancy are co-founders of the Jimmy Miller Foundation. For more information about the foundation and its Ocean Therapy program for the wounded warriors, veterans, and abused kids from foster care facilities, please visit www.jimmymillerfoundation.org. DZ