How We Got Started
The Veterans and Families Foundation was founded in 2003 by John Henry Parker and his son, Sgt Danny Facto, a Purple Heart Recipient and Combat Veteran of two tours in Afghanistan with the Army 10th Mountain Division.
In the fall of 2003 Sgt Facto was leading a squad of soldiers searching for Osama Bin Laden and his forces in the Afghan mountain region bordering Pakistan. Sgt. Facto was interviewed on a special segment of Peter Jennings’ “World News Tonight” that focused on the conditions at forward fire bases on the Afghan/Pakistan border, and the experiences of the brave American soldiers fighting in those mountains.
Shortly after this interview, Danny telephoned his father from Afghanistan. Danny, a married father of two children, described how he was having major concerns about coming home after seeing and experiencing the realities of combat. To say it more bluntly, Danny stated that he was just too ______ up to come home. He added that he would likely be in need of “serious” counseling when he returned to the U.S., and expressed a high level of anxiety about how his experiences would affect his ability to transition back to a “normal” family and civilian life after his deployment.
Alarmed by this dilemma, John Henry began an aggressive and broad based search for solutions and resources by phone and the Internet to see how he could help his son handle what would later be diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and to find ways to ease his re-integration into civilian life. While John Henry did find limited mental health resources available for Veterans, he was not able to locate any long-term readjustment assistance for the family members, employers and others who would be so heavily invested in his son’s day to day readjustment. John Henry quickly became frustrated and concerned after finding that he couldn't' cut through the maze of Veterans’ related information and organizations to get quick assistance for what he felt his son and those close to him would need to make the transition from military to civilian life.
In the United States, and with hundreds of thousands of returning current soldiers like Danny multiplied by tens of millions of family members who are being impacted by war and deployment, John Henry knew that he was not alone. His concern created the genesis for Veterans and Families.
The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder www.ncptsd.org and the National Military Families Association www.nmfa.org dedicated to active duty military families and many other national organizations now link and send thousands of visitors a month to the Veterans and Families Foundation website.
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