By Dr. Chrisanne Gordon
It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? The “official” beginning of the Holiday Season with Thanksgiving – and ending after Valentine’s Day – at least that is Veterans’ Holiday season as I have come to know and understand it. Valentine’s Day is a “big deal” to our younger veterans, of course. This is my “new” holiday season as determined by an uptick in crisis issues with our veterans. I’ve learned both in my medical career and in my philanthropic career that these holi-dates mean very different things depending on where you are in your journey.
For many, these are endearing times - times to celebrate reunions with friends and families. Times to share stories and food and music and memories. Times to also welcome new members into the families – babies and spouses and in-laws. Times of celebration - times to realize the joys of the present and think hopefully about the plans for the future.
For others – our veterans struggling with Traumatic Brain Injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; or our military members and veterans who have lost battle buddies; our patients struggling with terminal illness; our friends who have recently lost close family members – these are enduring times, times when the past is too painful to remember; when the present is too difficult to navigate; and the future is too obscured to view.
Every Thanksgiving I remember a “cold call” I received nearly a decade ago. A low and trembling voice on the other end of the line giving me a list of names. As soon as I deciphered that was occurring, I began writing them down – 30 names in all - and when the voice went silent I respectfully requested, “ What would you like to tell me about these people?” And so, the nearly 2-hour conversation began – ONE BY ONE recounting the amazing lives of 30 “battle buddies” – all fallen – either in combat during service or in conflict upon returning home. Some dying at “enemy” hands, yet the majority by their own.
I learned that this young veteran had suffered these losses in a life span of only 30 years – and the sense of loss was unimaginable to me. I realized quite poignantly that our protectors endure hardships that we civilians cannot imagine and that military service changes your life in ways you cannot foresee when you swear your allegiance to protect our nation with your life.
HE TAUGHT me so much that afternoon, and every THANKSGIVING since. I learned more about resilience and courage from this young veteran than any professor or mentor or counselor. He taught me that the LOSS remains but that your acceptance of it improves; He taught me that compassionate strangers often become caring friends and begin etching new memories into the brain. Whereas these new memories don’t bury the old, they coexist until, eventually, they begin to resurrect that far distant memory of HOPE.
A couple years ago, when I got “the call” I was in awe of what I heard - instead of a tentative, unsteady voice – I heard a strong “Happy Thanksgiving, DOC,” followed by a sound that stopped my heart – just before it burst into JOY - the unmistakable cry of a baby drowned out her daddy’s greeting to me. And there it was! The miracle of love – proclaiming the transformation from endurer to endearer – the past, now obscured and the future coming into clear view. And the present? A “gift” to behold.
TODAY, at Resurrecting Lives Foundation, we share our joy with all those endearing these holidays. We share our thoughts and prayers with all those who are enduring, and we are here to help you find that pathway to hope however far away it now appears.
As always, we share our immense gratitude to all who serve us with their military service and beyond. You were there for us! We are here for you – THANKSGIVING to Valentine’s Day – and all the days that follow.
This Veterans Day weekend, RLF Founder Chrisanne Gordon, MD was proud to join artist and U.S. Navy Chief Joe Pisano aboard the USS Midway Museum for the debut of his entire 7- Panel War Memorial, The Art of Immortalizing Heroes! The war memorial remained on display for live viewing on the USS Midway through the following week.
Chief Joe Pisano is an accomplished Navy Chief Reservist and resident artist at Liberty Station in San Diego, California. His art revolves around his passion for veterans and inventively utilizes 3D industrial elements to convey military and patriotic themes.
Chief Pisano and RLF founder, Chrisanne Gordon, MD, first met in San Diego around Veterans Day last year. The meeting resulted in a partnership between Resurrecting Lives Foundation and Pisano Artistry, aiming to help Chief Pisano's amazing art reach more people and continue to spread awareness to the issues our veterans face, such as TBI, while inspiring hope and healing in our nation.
The Art of Immortalizing Heroes consists of seven large-scale panels that tell the stories of those who served in our nation's major conflicts, from WW1 to the Global War on Terror. Among the panels is one sponsored by Resurrecting Lives Foundation, The Battlefield Cross, which serves as a tribute to our veterans who served in the GWOT. The panels on the back side of the memorial honor 17,000 lives that were lost during the worst year of the Vietnam War and are contrasted with 3800 Gold stars, hand painted by 1500 children to shine some light on the lives that were lost. The panels were displayed along with installations created with screws that showcase the emotion of War, loss, and the fight for freedom.
Follow our website's Upcoming Events page and social media channels for the latest news on where The Art of Immortalizing Heroes will be displayed next!
If you would like to make a donation to support the art creation of Chief Joe Pisano, please click here.
"The best way to Honor a Veteran is not to forget their service but to share his or her name/story" - Joe Pisano
On September 23-25, Commissioner Rick Perales joined RLF and Chief Joe Pisano at Force-Con in San Diego, the largest superhero military convention involving all service branches. Please read his statement following the event:
"It has been my pleasure to support and work with the Resurrecting Lives Foundation for a number of years. As a veteran, I understand that we must take care of those who were willing to give their all for our freedom. Specifically, those vets suffering from TBIs require significant care and attention. So many vets suffer from TBIs; but so little is known about this ailment.
Resurrecting Lives have trained medical, speech, occupational/physical therapist, job coaches, and many other paid and volunteer specialists to give the affected vets the best chance at a healthy and fulfilling life. While an Ohio State Legislator, along with founder Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, we led the effort to help fund this organization and get them on their feet -- one of the best endeavors I accomplished as a legislator. Seeing Founder Dr. Chrisanne Gordon at 'ForceCon' several weeks ago was truly a treat. Navy Chief Pisano was also there with his amazing art pieces honoring our vets. Together we spread the word about Resurrecting Lives' amazing programs and services. As a vet and an elected official, I will stand behind and support Resurrecting Lives as they continue to grow and offer their services to more vets in need. I thank the staff and volunteers of Resurrecting Lives for all they do for our vets and their families - you truly make a difference" - Greene County Commissioner Rick Perales
Photos below taken at Force-Con event in San Diego, September 2022
On October 2nd, Resurrecting Lives Foundation teamed up with Cardinal Health for our 8th Annual Golf Charity Event! The event was a great success, connecting and supporting our veterans with TBI.
Over the years, our annual golf outings have produced great accomplishments for Resurrecting Lives Foundation and our veterans. Outing #1 led to Skylar Burgess being recruited to RLF as a board member and going on to lead our employment initiative. At Outing #3, Corey O'Brien spoke and was recruited to head up our TM courses, bringing 13 other veterans to safety under the instruction of Vietnam Veteran David Kidd - and that continues to this day the relationship with David Lynch Foundation. Outing #5 connected RLF with Billy Chisum, starting our Lighten Up Alaska initiative to provide SAD lights to military bases in Alaska.
At this year's outing, we were proud to have U.S. Army veteran and RLF board advisor Ed Heckathorn as our featured speaker. Ed has been involved in suicide prevention with our foundation for a long time and he and his wife Michelle have always been available to offer hands-on care for fellow veterans.
We greatly appreciate our awesome volunteers, everyone who attended the golf tournament, and all who donated to benefit our veterans. Thank you to Cardinal Health and the Dublin Rotary for their continued support in making this event possible.
On October 8th, siblings Arnold (13) and Talia (11) Elliott hosted a charity nerf challenge at Victory Martial Arts (VMA) in Hilliard Ohio to benefit Resurrecting Lives Foundation.
The two youths chose to help our veterans by putting together this event to raise funds for our organization as their Mitzvah (charitable deed) project, in preparation for their B’nai Mitzvah on Veterans Day Weekend. They were inspired by their father Jason, a retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant from the Ohio Army National Guard who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom II and III.
Victory Martial Arts generously donated the space and assisted Arnold and Talia with running the event. Through their diligent and admirable efforts, the Elliott kids were able to raise an impressive $480 in funds to support veterans!
The Elliotts have been students with Victory Martial Arts as a family since August 2016 and they are the first family of 4 at VMA to all achieve the rank of black belt. Jason is now an Instructor and his son Arnold is a Junior Instructor at VMA.
The first photo below shows our founder Chrisanne Gordon, MD receiving the check for the funds raised from the Elliott family - Talia, Arnold, mother Stephanie, and father Jason. The second photo also includes VMA's Grandmaster Kim, Master Moon, and their oldest child Inwoo.
The Elliotts and RLF have decided that the funds raised will go to veterans who are wanting to learn at Victory Martial Arts studio! For more information on this exciting opportunity, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On October 9th, Brainstorms made its world premiere at the Soho International Film Festival in New York City!
Brainstorms is a short film co-produced by Resurrecting Lives Foundation and Corpus Callosum Creations, and written and directed by Julie Pacino and her Tiny Apples team. Based on the book Turn the Lights On by Chrisanne Gordon, MD, the film takes an experiential look inside the brain of a veteran who has sustained a TBI during combat.
We are thrilled to see Brainstorms expanding its reach worldwide, bringing awareness and education on the issue of TBI and thereby influencing healing for our brothers and sisters!
Stay tuned to our Films page and social media channels to see where Brainstorms goes next!
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