Most of us will never experience the type of trauma that Michael Wilson has. In the aftermath of a 2010 IED incident in Afghanistan, the former U.S. Marine officer was left with a brain injury, cognitive impairments, a speech impediment and emotional and physical scars. He knows firsthand just how important strong community support can matter to a recovering veteran.
As the executive director of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a nonprofit that partnered with Granicus for its 2018 Granicus National Summit in Washington, D.C., Wilson strives to ensure other wounded vets receive the best care available. The organization provides free short-term and long-term housing, free rental cars and access to health care through a network of partners.
“Our intent is to provide a collaborative foundation that incubates and breeds family success,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t have transitioned successfully without the support of my family, friends and the community at large.”
Wilson began his presentation at the Summit with a video that illustrated the anxiety family members feel when responding to a call that a loved one has been injured in combat.
“You pack your bags to meet them, not knowing how long you’ll be gone,” Wilson said. “Your mind is racing. Is she OK? Is she in pain? What are the next steps? Who do I call? Who will meet me at the airport when I arrive? Will someone meet me at the airport when I arrive? Where do I go when I get to the hospital?”
The Yellow Ribbon Fund was founded in 2005 and is based in Bethesda, Maryland. It primarily helps injured service men and women who are recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
To conclude, Wilson premiered a video for the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s Keystone Program, which focuses on providing caregiver and family support services.
“Service members and their families continue to brave unexpected medical crises as our country endures more combat-wounded, unexpected training accidents and debilitating diseases as a result of global warfare,” Wilson said. “Without your support, we would not be able to accomplish our mission.”