“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible” –Francis of Assisi
While growing numbers of troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States military and veteran health care systems continue to struggle with providing services to current service members and vets from previous wars. Our troops will need care for physical injuries, such as broken or lost limbs, but they also return with invisible wounds, often more impervious to health care, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
After years of mental health work treating civilians in academic, community, correctional, and private settings, Dr. Kara von Dresner began providing therapy to service members of all military branches at Ft. Meade. She was horrified to find that, do to an overwhelmed health care system, her patients in correctional facilities had far more access to care than her patients in the military. And she was equally frustrated that progress made in therapy with her patients often regressed if the patient’s spouse, child, or pet had issues with no access to care.
Enter Kelly O’Clair – a Marine veteran. Kara and Kelly met while planning a fundraiser for the Joy Fund of Hampton Roads. The two shared more than civic minds and a love of martinis, but also the chilling realization that there are not enough doctors, hospitals, and funds to provide adequate treatment for both service members and their families. Together, the two sat down and devised a list of programs, which would provide high-impact, wrap-around services to the spouses, children, and pets of military families, and original fundraisers, which would provide donors both a sense of good will and a great time.
Kara and Kelly recruited local philanthropist, MaryAnne Dukas, and started inviting other dynamic professionals to join the board, founding Lady’s Grace. With the board’s guidance Kara drafted founding documents and applied for our 501c3, while Kelly found volunteers in the community. Since then, the Lady’s Grace family continues to provide help to local military families through services, mentorship, and outreach.
What can you do to help? Volunteer today! We can always use help running fundraisers and raising awareness about our programs. Lady’s Grace is grassroots non-profit, run by amazing staff, board members and volunteers, filling a dire need in our community. We have started by doing what is necessary; but hopefully, if we all do what is possible, we can help others achieve what seems impossible.