And this is often the case – we overthink things all the time, from choosing a route on Waze to ordering room service at two in the morning...you’re not really going to be thrilled with anything you pick and it’s going to take way longer than you expected. The simple answer is almost always best, but then again, there are times when choosing the road less traveled makes all the difference.
Clear Path for Veterans is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing a holistic approach to wellness for former military and their families. What does that mean, you ask? Well, it’s complicated, but in a good way.
“Integrative medicine is one of the greatest weapons we have in trying to combat veteran-related mental health and pain issues.” explained Clear Path’s Chief Strategic Officer Earl Fontenot. Issues that leave many veterans, Fontenot included, dependent on medication to get through each day.
“For six years after leaving the Army, I was taking as many as seven medications a day, including several pain pills. When I found Clear Path, I tried some of the non-clinical modalities that were available – massage therapy and polarity therapy were my choices – and within a year, I was sleeping better, feeling less pain, my moods were better, and eventually, my relationship was better,” Fontenot said.
A year? Doing what? It sounds a little unconventional, maybe a lot unconventional, but it’s working. Veterans who participate in Clear Path’s hands-on body work and energy medicine techniques feel less pain, stress, and anxiety, but don’t have to rely on medication to get there. How great is that?
And then there are the Warrior Resets – part spa retreat, part mental recharge, all designed to show veterans alternative ways to relieve their symptoms and live balanced lives. Participants experience a day of acupuncture, mindfulness and meditation, non-clinical modalities like massage and reiki, and enjoy healthy, delicious meals. Warrior Resets are open to active duty military, veterans, and their families, and they’re filling gaps in restorative care doctors once thought could only be addressed with medication.
It was through one of Clear Path’s Warrior Resets that Fontenot was introduced to the therapies that ultimately helped him manage his pain without prescriptions, and come to terms with losing a close friend and fellow veteran to suicide.
“Back in 2010, one of the close friends I was deployed with committed suicide, and from there, I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to supporting veterans and making their lives better and worth living. I was connected to Clear Path in 2011 at their ribbon cutting, became a full-time employee two years later, and have been here every day since. We’ve changed thousands of veterans’ lives, and as I see this happening, I cannot help thinking I’m reconciling with Miles’ suicide a tiny bit each time,” he said.
It wasn’t the easiest path to wellness, but as we learn more and more about the human body, we’re learning it can take time to find the best one.
Clear Path for Veterans is situated on 78 picturesque acres in upstate New York, their 12,000-square-foot facility designed to foster calm, tranquility, and total-body health. They partner with local businesses and organizations to connect service members and their families to the resources they need, and provide in-house programs like art, culinary training, yoga, dog training, and massage at no cost to participants.
Veterans and their families have access to integrative medicine they may not otherwise have the time or resources to experience, which even the VA has acknowledged far exceed what we see as acceptable treatment for mental and physical issues.
Given all that, and considering we as a nation owe it to our military to ensure their needs are met after serving, Chive Charities is honored to provide a $10,000 grant to fund four Warrior Reset experiences at Clear Path for Veterans. Thanks to the generosity of our monthly donors, 48 more veterans will receive the kind of wrap-around care proven to heal mind, body, and soul. It’s not a quick fix and it isn’t the status quo, but it’s working, and that’s all that matters.
Life is full of choices, and while many of them are really complex and difficult, becoming a hero to veterans and their families is easy. Choose to be a Chive Charities monthly donor RIGHT HERE.