Blog Archives

Date: 12 – 14 August 2016
Who: 12 Ill, Disabled and Injured Veterans and their families
What: Using the healing properties of Surf Therapy for our brave veterans and their families, Fun, Sun, and Community!

PLEASE DONATE GENEROUSLY TO HELP US CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THIS LIFE SAVING SERVICE!

american-806513_640Dear Operation Amped sponsors, donors, volunteers and warriors,

As Memorial Day approaches, we at Operation Amped ask that you take a moment to:

  • Remember our honored fallen heroes for which this day is dedicated
  • Thank a Veteran for his or her service to this great country
  • Get involved and volunteer at your local Veterans Charity and any Veterans charitable event
  • Finally, please give generously to your favorite Veterans charity/Non-Profit organization

Operation Amped continues to serve Ill, Injured and Disabled Veterans and their families through Surf Therapy.  Please help us continue this mission!

 

IMG_1501Operation Amped is pleased to announce a NEW Volunteer of the Year Award in honor of August Henry “DUKE” Wagner, III who recently passed. Henry along with his wife Tracy and daughter Taylor have been steadfast volunteers of Operation Amped for the past 5 years. The award will be a beautifully sculpted TIKI with a placard of the recipients name and year of induction. Henry’s memory will be forever etched into our hearts!

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Operation Amped has received a donation from Katie Joblon, of New York on behalf of her friend Tanner Jones….

In Loving Memory of Tanner Jones (Surf City, NC). For his love of surfing, and passion to help others. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. Rest in paradise. #liveliketanner

Operation Amped would like to thank Katie for her donation!

You are cordially invited to the FIRST Operation Amped Saturday Surf Clinic

Location: Silver Strand State Beach, Coronado Island San Diego

Date/Time: Saturday, April 30th
Volunteer arrival: 8:30 AM
Participant\Warrior arrival: 9:00 AM
Clinic ends: 2:00 PM

Who: Injured, ill or disabled veterans and their families

What to bring: Sunscreen, Beach towel, Beach Chairs and lastly….AN ALOHA SPIRIT!!

How: To register and receive more details contact Jered Cherry @ JeredCherry@gmail.com

SPACE IS LIMITED, so RSVP ASAP!

Snacks, Drinks, Equipment and instruction is provided by Operation Amped

Content from Wells Fargo Stories

For veteran Chris Tomlin of San Diego, the reminders of war are gradually fading amid the ocean waves and comforts of a home. The U.S. Marine, who sustained a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq, is a lifelong surfer who says he finds peace as a homeowner — and helping others learn how to surf.

After three tours of duty in Iraq, the former bomb diffuser says he has fought his way back to normalcy. Today, he works with nonprofits to support other veterans with disabilities and share the healing of the waves with them….

Click here to read the full story on Wells Fargo Stories

Operation Amped is having a Veteran’s day surf program at Moonlight Beach for vets, non vets and wounded warriors to celebrate Veteran’s Day. We are calling this Vets Honoring Vets. It is in connection with our American Legion in Encinitas and also with the City of Encinitas.

We will be getting to the beach at 8:00AM to set up and register everyone. At 9:00AM we will hit the surf and just have fun. We have a ton of sponsors and our goal is to have over 400 people at the beach that day!!! At 10:15AM we will clear the beach because at 10:30AM we will have the Marine Jumping Leathernecks Skydiving onto Moonlight Beach carrying the American Flag. We are having Amy Suggs sing the Star Spangled Banner as the flag drops to the beach.

At 11:00AM we are all going over to the Legion for lunch. The Mayor and the Legion Commander will speak at 1 and then we will have a raffle of several surf boards, and other great prizes.

For more information, email info@operationamped.org

When surfers speak of “stoke” they are not just engaging in Spicoli surfer speak. Surfing, done right, delivers a tremendous psychological high.

Paddling hard in the ocean, catching waves, riding waves, and plunging into an environment can be as dangerous as it is thrilling: People who start surfing learn that “stoke” is an overall feeling of physical and mental cleanliness that can lead to a lifetime obsession with riding waves in the ocean.

For veterans returning home from foreign wars with physical and mental injuries, that stoked stimulation can mean the difference between elation and depression, and even between a good life and a tragic death.

According to the Wounded Warrior Project, as of July 1, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had wounded 52,343, with an estimated 320,000 suffering from traumatic brain injuries and 400,000 suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

These veterans all require care and rehabilitation, and the Veterans Administration is aided by private organizations like Operation Amped, a group of veterans, surfers, medical professionals and volunteers whose mission is:

“To share the ‘stoke’ of the surfing community and the healing potential of surfing with seriously ill, injured, or disabled U.S. military veterans and their families. Our vision is of a surfing community that demonstrates appreciation for the sacrifices of servicemen and women with its welcoming environment and sharing the grounding and healing of surfing.”

*Content from http://www.lifezette.com/

Read the full story at http://www.lifezette.com/healthzette/sea-change/

Staff Sergeant Matthew L. Slade is not a professional photographer. If he wanted to take a photo two months ago, he’d have used his cell phone. Despite no prior formal photography training, Slade now looks every bit the professional as he walks up and down San Onofre Beach with a tripod and camera in hand, crouching in the sand and on the rocks looking to capture the moment.

Slade is a wounded warrior and student of Wounded Warrior Battalion West’s photography class, fStop.

“fStop is a group of men and women who are learning to become amateur photographers at Wounded Warrior Battalion,” said Slade. “It teaches a different way to cope with our injuries.”

Slade recently had the opportunity to practice the skills he learned in fStop during Operation Amped. Operation Amped is an annual weekend surfing event open to Wounded Warriors and their families. Operation Amped’s mission is to share the surfing community and the healing potential of surfing with seriously ill, injured, or disabled U.S. military veterans and their families.

“I just wanted to take photos originally, because I thought that was cool,” said Slade. “But I’ve really become interested in it and it’s become a really important hobby for me.”

Slade, a former Marine recruiter, has found more than just a hobby in fStop.

“It’s a lot of great people doing fun stuff,” said Slade. “It’s like a family. It offers a group that knows you and gets you and we take photos together.”

Master Sergeant Hugo L. Gonzalez is another student of fStop.

“I was taking photos for a long time, but I never actually knew the ins and outs of a camera, how to operate it,” said Gonzalez. “I think it’s another way to help out, for those of us who enjoy taking photos, getting out there and shooting. I find it’s therapeutic, a different way to cope with whatever is going on. Photography works for me.”

Photography isn’t the only hobby that works for Gonzalez. On the beach, Gonzalez is a surfer.

“I’ve been surfing for about two months now,” said Gonzalez. “I started with the Jimmy Miller Foundation, they come to the battalion every two weeks, taking us out to Del Mar Beach and teaching us to paddle and stand.”

Where fStop gives him a chance to enjoy photography, Operation Amped gave Gonzalez an opportunity to explore surfing with a weekend on the beach and lessons from volunteer instructors.

“Just being around the ocean is very therapeutic,” said Gonzales. “As a kid I grew up around the ocean and now being near it just makes me feel a lot better.”

Gonzalez, a motor transport operator, has found many opportunities to stay active while healing from his injury.

“I wish I could clone myself because there is so much offered at the battalion,” said Gonzales. “I try to take part in everything, but I also don’t want to take it away from the Marines. I try to make sure all the junior Marines get a chance to participate and if there’s anything left, I volunteer for it.”

Once Slade was done shooting for the day, Gonzalez suggested he come back the next day and learn to surf.

Content from marines.mil – read more at marines.mil

Download photo here

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As crashing waves compete with the sound of shelling at Camp Pendleton, a beginner surfer makes her way to her board. “It’s strong,” Sarah Rudder says of the unusually high swells this Saturday morning at San Onofre State Beach.

The left leg of Rudder’s full wetsuit is tied off below her knee—the amputation a result of a devastating ankle injury the former Marine suffered while carrying bodies out of the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Rudder, who worked in the Marine Corps headquarters across from the building, was scheduled to be promoted to lance corporal the day American Airlines Flight 77 smashed into it. She was 18.

Now 32, Rudder (who did get that promotion) recently lost her injured leg after years of excruciating pain. And today she’s ready to test the water. A volunteer from Operation Amped pushes her in a beach wheelchair to the surf. He helps her onto a longboard. After paddling out a bit and catching a white-water wave—she rises to her knees and rides it for several seconds before falling. Rudder ends up laughing on the sand: “It was like flying.”

She is among thousands of American veterans who are severely injured and ill, many having seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the 2.5 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, reservists, and guardsmen deployed to those countries since the 9/11 attacks, an estimated 16,000 have suffered severe disabling injuries, including 1,500 single-limb amputations. About 30,000 have some kind of traumatic brain injury, often an invisible wound. And the number of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder soon is expected to reach 500,000. According to a 2010 study, 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

Dave Donaldson reads these grim statistics in late August as he sits in one of the rented cottages near the beach where Rudder and 14 other veterans and their families have gathered for a three-day surfing camp-out. He co-founded Operation Amped eight years ago. The nonprofit’s free event is as much about camaraderie as it is about spending time in the water. Local mentors—many are veterans themselves—help participants focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t.

“If I didn’t have surfing, I don’t know what I’d do,” says 32-year-old Christopher Tomlin, who retired from the Marines in July 2013 after serving 14 years, but who still has seizures and memory loss from 13 combat-related concussions. “The water cures all.”

Volunteer Bob Burke teams up with Edwin Gomez, a 20-year-old who’s blind in his right eye and has limited tunnel vision in his left—the result of a howitzer recoiling into his head during training. After 30 minutes riding a longboard together in the punishing waves beyond the surf break, Burke and Gomez retreat beneath a canopy for soft drinks and lunch. Gomez smiles. “I got up a few times,” he says. “I was even standing.”

Says Burke of the veterans: “They come away with a sense of independence, feeling they can do more than they thought they could.”

Get Involved!

Operation Amped
Surfing and paddleboarding
operationamped.com
619-723-1634
Project Healing Waters
Fly-fishing
projecthealingwaters.org
301-830-6450
Tee It Up for the Troops
Golf fundraisers
teeitupforthetroops.org
O.C. Chapter: altavistateeitup.org

See more at: http://www.orangecoast.com/oc-outdoors/looking-for-ways-to-thank-americas-disabled-vetscan-help-americas-disabled-vets/

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