The Save A Warrior Foundation has been working to prevent suicides and heal post traumatic stress among the nation’s veterans, active duty military members, and first responders from its Hillsboro headquarters, dubbed Warrior Village II, since the location was given to the organization by an anonymous donor in late 2020.
“We are so grateful to have Highland County as our home because the community has been incredibly welcoming to us,” said Save A Warrior Director of Development Laura Rapoch. “We’re excited to see the relationship continue to evolve.”
The donation of the 250-acre property was facilitated through Dick Wood, 94, who served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Wood is the oldest alumni of the Save A Warrior program, having gone through the “war detox” two years ago.
Wood introduced the philanthropic Columbus-area donor to the Save A Warrior Foundation leadership. “Dick Wood told us, ‘I think you need to have a conversation with him about the life-saving work that Save A Warrior is doing for our veterans, our military, and our first responders,’” said Rapoch. “This man was so moved and inspired and touched by the work that we do and the impact we are making that he gave us the property in Hillsboro.”
The property includes a lodge, a 25-acre fully stocked fish pond, and a boat house.
The foundation is constructing a 7,700-square foot facility called the National Center of Excellence for Post traumatic stress on the Hillsboro area property. Rapoch said the facility will double the year-to-year impact of Save a Warrior’s efforts to help “our nation’s heroes heal.” The center will open its doors during a grand opening June 11, 2022.
Save A Warrior serves veterans, active duty military members, and first responders from all 50 states through operations in the Hillsboro facility and those in California. The organization was founded by Ronald “Jake” Clark in 2012 in Malibu, California.
The Save A Warrior Foundation has created a 75-hour retreat-based program typically experienced by groups of around 10 participants or “cohorts.”
“After honing in on the experience, we’ve found that 75 hours is really what it takes to unlock the underlying traumas that are leading to suicidal ideations and complex pos traumatic stress,” said Rapoch.
The program does not involve medication, and the groups of cohorts are “warrior-led” by people who are trained after having been participants. Rapoch said the program has been shown to have an efficacy rating of more than 99.6 percent.
One aspect of the program, known as “Warrior Meditation,” is a 20-minute long method used to calm the limbic system. Upon leaving the facility, participants follow up with a 500-day continuum of care program. “We give them the ability to find healing, but it requires work,” said Rapoch. “The solution isn’t painless, and it’s not easy, but it is worthwhile.”
According to Rapoch, Save A Warrior is the number one choice for elite special forces units for non-traditional ways to address complex post traumatic stress. “The gentleman who was third in the door during the Bin Laden raid has come through our program,” she said.
She said the Navy SEAL Foundation, Green Baret Foundation, and Veteran’s Administration refer service members to Save A Warrior because they know the program works.
The program has served nearly 1,600 people since its inception.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.