Veteran Retreat Testimonial: Anthony, Janae & Anson Werbenec

Foremost, I want to share my absolute gratitude to the Travis Mills family, the TMF Staff and the TMF Volunteers. My cup has been refilled with the joy of a family focused experience while humbly receiving a reassuring breath of life to keep moving forward, to stand firm in the fight for family happiness and to always be grateful for the opportunity to serve and help each other. To appreciate the grace of Our Creator, who lets us live another day, surrounded by those who matter most: Our family and our fellow veterans, those who give and gave up so much, and to honor those who went before us.

While at the Veteran Retreat #197 in Maine, I deeply took in the stunningly peaceful scenery and savored the moments of serenity reflecting the reality that there was always a small piece of my life which I felt like I had lost many years ago in theater during OEF/OIF-1, and for two decades I kept that compartmentalized.  I have never had the right time nor place to decompress those thoughts and emotions.  Early in the GWOT we were Med-Evac’ed out, and then we were mostly left to our own to pick up the pieces and carry on with our lives. Over the years, and countless times, I had received and appreciated supportive words from family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. 

The harsh reality is that the kind words never really change anything for us, nor help relocate the pieces of life that were lost. I knew it was a personal battle I would eventually have to struggle through on my own, at some point, holding it off for an unknown time in the future when much older and after gaining a lifetime of wisdom to be equipped with – that hopeful time in the future that is suppose to eventually exist – such a time after I had remained laser-focused with a rewarding professional career, retired and sent the kid(s) to college. But, the residuals and worsening of war injuries and wounds wait for no one, they can get to a point where we meet face-to-face with the reality that it’s time to take a knee and focus on sustaining a quality of life. The TMF Staff were very respectful and sincere with caring about us, they put words into action, and for the first time I felt like all of me, all of us as a family, all aspects of my life was put back together and I finally felt like I was home, a place of warmth and comfort, a place with no worries.

I truly felt like my family and I were cared about, that our cohesion as a combat-Veteran-challenged family was important to the Staff and the activities, schedule and daily events were designed to ensure that. With our gratitude, humility, respect and our sincere appreciation to the Travis Mills Foundation. May GOD continue to bless the Travis Mills family, the TMF Staff and Volunteers, and the Foundation.