Cindy Parsons came to New Hampshire and captivated the hearts and minds of veterans and non veterans alike as she spoke of the plight of our men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, most especially those who suffer wounds seen and unseen. She touched the core of my heart as she discussed her own tragedy, the wounds of her hero son, Shane Parsons, and his journey back into society. He represents all of our men and women who suffer the pains of a traumatic brain injury and the loss of limbs while serving their country. They are our unsung heroes, who all too often are forgotten by those of us who go on with our day to day activities, safe and secure in the knowledge that life is good. It is so because of the supreme sacrifice these warriors make every day that they wear the uniform that symbolizes who they are and what they stand for.
I salute them as a veteran who never experienced combat, but none the less feels their pain and understands their concerns for the future and where life's journey will take them. Were it within my power, I would give them whatever assistance was needed to reclaim their rightful place of honor and respect in our society. We owe them no less.
Thank you Cindy. May God bless you for your message of hope and love for our men and women who serve, and may God continue to bless our great Nation.
"Our Story" by Cindy Parsons
My world stopped when the phone rang and a stranger on the other end told me Shane was critically wounded in Iraq. My son was driving lead Humvee on a mission to prevent anti-coalition from attacking our troops when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated.
Shane sustained massive injuries, including above-the-knee bilateral amputations that lead to multiple cardiac arrests. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with a severe anoxic traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, the hallmark invisible wounds of war.
Moreover, with major physical and invisible wounded, Shane was looking at years of rehabilitation and relearning active daily living skills.
While receiving medical treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Shane was visited by staff from Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). He was given a backpack with comfort items and information, and they told us if we needed anything to let them know. Little did I know the significance of their commitment to Wounded Warriors and families and the impact they would have on our lives!
WWP continued to provide support throughout Shane’s recovery and rehabilitation and continues today after six years.
Wounded Warrior Project’s mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. Their vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted Wounded Warriors in the history of any war
The history of WWP began when several veterans and friends, moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, took action to help others in need. What started as a desire to provide comfort items to wounded service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center has grown into a holistic rehabilitative effort to assist warriors with visible and invisible wounds as they recover and transition back into civilian life. Tens of thousands Wounded Warriors, family members, and caregivers receive support each year through WWP programs.
The 18 programs and services are specifically structured to engage warriors, nurture their minds and bodies, and encourage their economic empowerment. Warrior families and caregivers are provided comfort, care, and education to help support the recovery of their Wounded Warriors. All programs are provided free of charge for warriors and their families.
Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after Sept. 11, 2001 and their families.
Shane and I have participated in many WWP program events, including fishing in Alaska, hunting, Soldier Ride with his hand-cycle, downhill skiing, sky diving and Secondary Rehab attending an Amputee Conference.
WWP has been there for us with programs and services that have made a difference in Shane’s quality of life. When the V.A. suspended his speech therapy, WWP stepped in and provided an adult literacy tutor who continues to work with Shane today.
Currently, Shane participates in the WWP Independence Program with a job coach. Overcoming obstacles to reintegrate back into his community and regaining self-worth and confidence. He volunteered as a defensive football coach at a local junior high school, working towards assistant coaching a summer football camp and volunteers at a Humane Society working with dogs.
As Shane’s full-time caregiver, WWP has provided me an opportunity to be a voice for our Warrior’s and families as a Spokesperson with Warriors Speak. It allows me to have much needed respite time and work with amazing dedicated WWP staff.
In all honestly, I am not sure where we would be today if it wasn't for WWP’s support!
I do worry what will happen to Shane if something happens to me? Because the greatest causality is being forgotten. But I am confident that WWP will NEVER FORGET my son by continuing to honor and empower with life-affirming support!