The Heart of America Returns
By: Freya Pruitt
America is the greatest country on earth. Its heart beats for the safety and betterment of all humanity. Its spirit is unquenchable- its honor unquestionable- and its platform of performance stand for freedom, justice and equality. Over two centuries ago, pioneers entered an un-known land, settled in a great new world and created a democracy that would evolve into the strongest and most prosperous country in the world. The creation of The United States of America evolved through the formation of a Constitution that would manifest a sovereign nation under God; with liberty and justice for all. This amazing piece of history set an historical precedent for the entire world: This was a country created BY the people and FOR the people. As Democracy was birthed, we began to find our way on a journey that would build a new vision defined by excellence of spirit, hope, faith and dedication to family. The pioneers of yesterday have indelibly left their signature on our hearts as the greatest nation on earth begins a new dimension of growth in the new millennium. But what IS America now and how has America changed? What is the Constitution of today and how has it changed since our forefathers created its structure, format and laws?
In a world of technological wonder, we seem to have become somewhat disengaged as people. We must get back to basics- to families- to caring- to connecting again. We are at a crossroads in American history and MUST rediscover the great heart, soul and integrity that made this country the humanitarian heart of the world. The answer is what it always was: The ultimate power lies in the power of the people and their willingness to step up to the plate and demonstrate their dedication to basic American values and integrity. And part of that integrity is supporting the people who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis as they protect the safety and honor of the American people. Our military is the very core of our great nation. Families are torn apart by the loss of loved ones and many veterans returning home from combat are grievously injured and have nowhere to convalesce and recover with their families by their side. Husbands, wives and children are directly affected by their injured loved ones, but are also injured by the trauma of being separated from their family as they begin the recovery process. We all have experienced sickness and know how much our families can assist in a speedy and successful recovery. As a veteran returns from war with an injury, they need the support of their families and should not be forced to convalesce alone in a VA hospital. The intimate love and care from a family member many times makes the difference in a person’s recovery. A warm hug, a loving smile, hearing the laughter of their child’s voice IS the quality of life our veterans deserve and need as they begin their convalescing walk. Returning to a productive civilian life requires the loving support of family- not separation! There is no substitute for family and there is no substitute for the love and support a wife, husband or child can give to a veteran who is severely wounded and bravely facing a long, up-hill recovery process. We all KNOW there is a challenge- so, what IS the answer?
“Empowering Warriors” is a non-profit organization created by President Darlene Gleason and her beloved husband Mike. This unique and innovative program provides an alternative answer to veterans convalescing in a VA Hospital and affords them the benefit and support of their families being by their side through the recovery process. Empowering Warriors is a program designed expressly for the specific needs of veterans returning home from war by providing them with interim housing that would NOT separate them from their families! The wounds of our warriors are the obvious; but it is the un-seen portion of recovery that has to be addressed if America is to truly honor the service of our veterans! WHY would a wounded warrior have to be subjected to the absence of their family members as they endure the recovery process- alone and isolated!? Darlene experienced life in the military first hand as she was blessed by a long and loving marriage with her husband. Sadly Mike passed away in 2012; and since that day Darlene has dedicated her entire life to honoring his legacy by launching his dream: EMPOWERING WARRIORS. God works in mysterious and great ways…..and always works all things for the better good of all. In this case, He has taken a tragic loss and turned it into an empowering, loving instrument of restoration that will help hundreds of veterans return to loving and productive lives. We all know that true and effective change requires heart, dedication, experience and a great deal of faith. Darlene Gleason has a plethora of attributes required to launch such an extraordinary project of this magnitude. But to understand this great woman, we must go back to where the depth of her character and vision began. Darlene’s roots were formed in the farm country of Iowa where she was captivated by the farming process, growing plants and gardening. Her childhood was engrossed in this process and has become one of the fundamental elements necessary for the Empowering Warriors program to help sustain the family with organic foods through aquaponics. To describe Darlene’s life as “eclectic’ is an understatement! Besides being a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and a beloved aunt to many nieces and nephews, Darlene has been a stellar career woman as well! She has been a professional commercial and residential real estate investor for over 35 years. Her extensive real estate experience is a fundamental requirement for having the expertise to develop the Empowering Warriors housing programs and bring this aspect of the program to fruition. Darlene’s business acumen and experience is astounding as she originally started working at the Bell System at Northwestern Bell at an entry level position! She was quickly transferred to Southwestern Bell where she became project coordinator of many large telecommunications projects that ultimately included NASA, mission control at JSC, many large oil companies, the University of Houston, The City of Houston, E911 and many others that were ALWAYS completed on schedule! Coming full circle, it is interesting to note that these Bell System companies became AT&T once again! Darlene attended Lone Star College and attended many continuing classes with AT&T as she evolved into today’s modern woman; possessing ALL of the qualities needed to lead Empowering Warriors to victory! Darlene Gleason IS the American Dream and Empowering Warriors IS the change America has been waiting for! Please support the change by contributing to this extraordinary non-profit. By doing so, you will show your support to our veterans who have risked and sacrificed their lives for your freedom. America must stand strong and united and do whatever is needed through the private sector to support our military. With your help and with a great woman leading the cause, we can EMPOWER our warriors as they begin a new and productive life in their new homes. May God bless Darlene Gleason for her amazing courage, strength, love and dedication to our veterans. May God bless America and may God bless us all as we begin this journey of transformation to forge a new path leading America back to greatness!
“I WANT TO BUILD FAMILIES AGAIN”
A PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM DARLENE GLEASON: PRESIDENT OF EMPOWERING WARRIORS
“I launched Empowering Warriors.org because of my desire to build families again. So many military families have been separated whether it is through deployment, injury or health problems. When our service people are away it breaks up the core family. When the veteran comes home with catastrophic injuries I want them to actually BE home- to recuperate WITH their families instead of being isolated in a VA Hospital. I want to break the cycle of being dis-connected and “connect” the healing process by reuniting families to support the convalescing veteran. My husband and I believed the family was the very core of our being. We lived the military and corporate life and understood the dynamics of both worlds. We developed a passion for our wounded veterans and wanted to give back and pay it forward by developing a program to unite families again. For proper and accelerated healing a veteran NEEDS their family by their side. They have seen enough separation through their service and we wanted to create a program that would provide a safe and loving facility for them to heal and recuperate while receiving that special love their families could only provide. As the veteran heals and prepares for transition into permanent housing, they will learn to grow their own food products through Aquaponics and will develop a healthy Organic diet and lifestyle. This program will provide our warriors a healing process with their families as well as providing an opportunity to make money to help support their families through a self-sustaining “Green” program that is both healthy and monetarily self-sustaining. This is a total healing experience for our veterans and their families.”
“Having lived the military life, both my husband and I intimately experienced the challenges of separation. Mike was the love of my life; and through this program I will be honoring the greatest man I have ever known. We shared the same passion for our veterans and were absolutely attached at the hip! We were also Real Estate investors and saw a great need for this type of program. We felt if we didn’t do this- then who would! The private sector had to step up and do it- so we are…and I am carrying on in his memory. Since I lost my husband I want desperately to honor him. He served his country with great honor and integrity. He loved his family and he loved his country. Creating Empowering Warriors.org is my gift to Mike- to honor his desire to help our veterans…it is a labor of love for me.”
“Our program will provide an intermediate facility where veterans can reside near their families; as they convalesce in between surgeries. They will have a place for healing and will not be alone in a VA hospital; they will be WITH their families. We will build Green houses with Aquaponics technology that will provide a healthy cathartic process for our veterans. They need to know someone is there for them- they need to know we care. When they are ready to transition out of our temporary facility, they will move to a safe and comfortable home. Our first home will be in Hempstead Texas. We chose this community because it is extremely veteran friendly and close enough to Houston to provide emergency care if needed for the veteran; and because we have forged such a special relationship with Travis Winfree, our Realtor and a WWII veteran who has given back to the community so much. He has been an ardent worker for many causes throughout the community. Whenever anyone is in need; Travis is the first one to offer assistance. I wish to honor him for his service to our country and great dedication to all in need; especially the veterans.
We are counting on the donations from the public and have also made a great personal investment to make this happen. We have hired a professional team with years of experience in non-profits and grant money to facilitate the growth and foundation of this much needed project. Mike and I have dedicated ourselves to giving back to our veterans with the same passion and dedication in which they served our great country. It is my honor to carry on Mike’s legacy as I build a new community for our veterans to heal. I thank God for His infinite Mercy and Grace as He blesses this project as we move forward for the better good of all. Jesus said to “Lay your life down for your friends” and that is exactly what I intend to do for our beloved veterans of the great United States of America. May God bless us all and may God bless our veterans as we forge ahead to create a safe and loving place for them to heal and unite with their families.”