- Category: Health + Wellness
- Created on 01 December 2017
- Written by Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder
- Hits: 3540
Recently, during The Legendary Awards Foundation’s Health Fair, T2T met some amazing Veterans who are still heeding the call to humanity. You don’t want to miss this story from Retired Captain Ryan Hepworth.
T2T:Tell us briefly, how did you start this movement?
SHADOW WARRIOR FOUNDATION (SWF):
I am CPT Ryan Hepworth US Army Retired and I am recently medically retied from the US Army due to severe back and neck injury. During my Military Service I served as a Registered Nurse in multiple roles. I have specialized training in Combat Trauma Management, Flight Nursing, Combatives, Soldier Mentoring, and Leadership. I deployed to Afghanistan with Task Force 115 as a Combat Trauma Registered Nurse. I worked on the most sophisticated Trauma Team in the world delivering life saving care to US/Coalition Forces, Afghan Army/Police, and the civilian population of Afghanistan.
I completely embraced all aspects of my job. I was and am still dedicated to my Soldiers. They are my Brothers and Sisters and I will NEVER turn my back on them. That being said, this has fueled my drive to do something bigger than me. I will never leave a Soldier behind.
T2T: Why is this such a passion?
SWF: My drive came from my wife, Makenzie. Before I was retired from the Army, Makenzie kept telling me that I needed to keep helping Soldiers. It’s my true passion. Ten years ago I signed a contract, which is a promise where I’m from. I don’t break my promises. That includes taking care of my Brothers and Sisters for life and that’s what I do on the streets of Atlanta.
T2T: What does the Shadow Warrior Foundation represent?
SWF: Shadow Warrior Foundation is a non-profit organization that addresses the most difficult issues that Active Duty Veterans and Retired Veterans face every day. SWF focuses on Homeless Veterans and Veterans with PTSD. A friend of mine made a great point by saying “homeless and Veteran should never be in the same sentence”! We will not rest until our Veterans are provided with the benefits they are entitled to. The benefits they earned by fighting for the Freedoms we in America enjoy every day. PTSD is a silent killer. Mental scars can be the most damaging. MORE than 22 of my Brothers/Sisters lose their battle to PTSD daily. Sadly we don’t talk about this, not during the political debates, or on the news. The only time PTSD is brought up in the public is when a Service Member loses their battle by committing a crime/homicide/suicide. The tragic ending to a Hero Ignored!
T2T: Explain the goals of this foundation? What is your vision?
SWF: The primary goal of Shadow Warrior Foundation:
“Helping our Warriors come out of the Shadows…..in to the Light”
Goals: Some of them are listed here, go to our website to see more:
- Educate EVERY American about the importance of supporting the Heroes that have fought for their Freedom.
- Provide clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, backpacks, bandages, under garments, etc.
- Advocate for Homeless Veterans and Veterans with PTSD in regards to the VA system. They live on the streets and need help in a timely manner. We facilitate this.
- We are the Boots on the Ground for our Veterans. They don’t trust government agencies, local politicians, or Charity Agencies at times. I know this is true because the Vets have told me this.
T2T: Who have partnered with you so far and how have they helped to enhance your cause? How can other organizations join in this powerful initiative?
- Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce
- Anytime Fitness: PTSD Support and Life Coaching
- Legendary Awards and Legendary Gives: Health Initiatives and Promotion, Networking, Shadow Warrior Foundation Promotion
- S.T.R.O.N.G. Health and Fitness Group: Veterans Health Promotion
- Minuteman Press of Cumming, Georgia: Marketing
- Fallen Heroes of Georgia: Honoring Fallen Soldiers/their Families
- Mellow Mushroom of Cumming, GA: Promotional Material, Catering, Fundraising
- Tams Backstage of Cumming, GA: Promotional Material, Catering, Fundraising
- Fat Boys BBQ Ranch Prattville, AL: Promotion, Catering, Fundraising
T2T: What are other ways individuals and organizations can assist you?
SWF: We have a donation list available on Facebook and take monetary support. We need volunteers.
T2T: Share two success stories.
SWF: Shadow Warrior Foundation recently provided hygiene kits, clothing, shoes, legal support, and PTSD services to over 80 Homeless Veterans/Veterans with PTSD in Atlanta, GA. We have developed a relationship with the Shelter and will provide a new oven for the kitchen, haircuts for the Veterans, suits for interviews/church, and more.
SWF recently was invited as an Honorary Vendor during the 5K for the Fallen Heroes of Georgia. A race dedicated to the the Service Members who lost their lives during the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shadow Warrior Foundation Team Members, US Army Soldiers, and US Marines carried a Litter with a person on it for the entire 5K. We never leave a fallen comrade. If I fall on the field of battle, will you carry me home?
Visit their Facebook Page at shadowwarriorfoundation.org to learn more.