While serving in the United States Air Force as a Crash Rescue Firefighter in the 1970’s, veteran William H. Moore successfully rescued two pilots from a burning F-111. Unfortunately, in the process, he was injured so badly that in 1980 he was discharged honorably with a service-connected disability and granted full disability by the VA in 2007.
Still feeling he had a lot to offer, Moore was impatient to find something he could do for his fellow veterans. It wasn’t long before he found himself in front of the camera doing a TV show for veterans.
Titled: Route 9 Veterans Forum Cable Access Show. Moore produces and hosts the show that has a viewership in over 100 Massachusetts communities and even neighboring states. On the show, he and his guests provide veteran viewers with information they may need about accessing services, tapping into community resources, the latest news impacting veterans, and the White House initiatives on behalf of veterans.
But Moore wanted to do more. One day while surfing online, Moore came across a website for an organization in Minnesota called Project New Hope. The organization was exclusively for veterans and it provided free weekend retreats for them. Moore liked the idea and in 2011, with a $10,000 private donation, he started the Massachusetts branch of Project New Hope. Building upon the concept of weekend retreats, Moore tailored each retreat to a theme — women veterans, male veterans, veterans and families & Gold Star and Surviving families.
The retreats are opened to all eras of combat veterans where rank takes a backseat to bonding over their common experiences. The emphasis is on reconnecting with civilian life, spouses and families. Sports, activities and workshops are staffed by volunteers who are professionals, and who may have some military connection. The workshops range from yoga and meditation to special workshops for children of veterans to counseling sessions.
The retreats are free to every veteran and his/her family. All expenses are covered except for travel to and from the retreat.
The process of healing and understanding is a vital component to life success after war. Each family member will deal with what has happened in their own way. Returning solders face the challenge of transition from war footing, to civilian home life. Often, it can seem as though they’re in it alone, as though people expect them to pick up where they’d been, as though nothing had changed during their time away.
In 2011, Project New Hope of Massachusett’s retreats served over 191 veterans and hopes to double that in 2012. In fact, the retreats have become so popular that attendees usually come back as volunteers to help out their fellow servicemen and women.
Moore secured non-profit status for the Mass chapter and has recently expanded services beyond Massachusetts since word of his retreats has been attracting veterans from as far away as New Mexico. However, according to Moore, each retreat costs about $3000 to put on which means that donations are always in his bucket list of things to do. But he doesn’t mind. After all, the retreats are for the men and women who sacrificed so much for the country and he feels it’s the least he can do to help them readjust to everyday life.