Project Sanctuary & Exodus Partner Spotlight Part 1

“When a serviceperson is deployed, a family goes to war.”

Many people claim to support our military. But at Exodus, we feel that in spite of the various ideologies attached to the politics of war, the activity of supporting our troops is a separate pursuit. Leaving homes and family is par for the course for these young individuals. And while many people talk about “giving back to those who give so much,” at Exodus, we support those who are putting this talk into action.

Project Sanctuary is an organization we are proud to support because of their unique understanding of the plight of military personnel and their families. They understand the intricacies of this life changing situation. This organization seeks to address the deep relational ramifications of leaving your loved ones for long periods of time. Not only do these young men and women risk their lives, but they often return to families in financial and emotional stress, the kind of which is often unaddressed by other military support avenues. Project Sanctuary specializes in recreational therapy in the form of retreats that help to heal the wounds of war.

The following is from an interview we recently did with Heather Ehle about Project Sanctuary and partnership with Exodus Moving and Storage.

What do you do with Project Sanctuary?

My name is Heather and I am the Founder of Project Sanctuary. I was a registered nurse during the first gulf war. Experiencing many things during this time, I was overwhelmed with the reality that there simply wasn’t enough being done for the families of military. These people are away from their loved ones for so long, when they return, things have always changed. I began to do research and found that neglect and abuse reports triple during times of deployment. It was obvious to me that there was an incredible gap between what was being offered and what was needed and this chasm was wide indeed for these wives, husbands and children. I built Project Sanctuary to bridge this gap and based the program model on this basic premise: I asked them what they needed. Project Sanctuary is completely designed around the personal struggles and adjustments military families have to make and therefore it’s an evolving program based on the needs of those it serves. Currently we have two main groups: Blue Star- for those who currently have a family member in the field and Gold Star- for those who have lost a family member in the line of duty.

What the main goal of Project Sanctuary?

At Project Sanctuary we help military families to reconnect with each other. During times of deployment, families are emotionally and financially stressed often to the point of breaking. With few exceptions, they have a hard time being a part of a community in such a state and ironically, it’s what they need the most. Civilians don’t often understand just how much is being missed while a service person is away. The average army deployment is 14 months. Think about it. That means that the family back home has been without their loved one for every holiday and birthday in that calendar year. If you are in the army and you have had a couple of deployments and you have an 8 year old, you have missed most of their life. So many firsts are missed. First steps, first words, first school dances. And it’s even worse in the case of dual families who have both mother and father in the armed forces. Mom and Dad take turns being away. As you can imagine, this takes a very logical toll on everyone and brings new meaning to the word sacrifice.

For more information about Project Sanctuary, please visit their website at

http://www.projectsanctuary.us/

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