Help Heal Veterans (Heal Vets) is finding new ways to honor the memory of a fallen hero, and help returning veterans at the same time.
If you have lost a loved one in military service, you will understand the importance of Memorial Day. Additionally, taking care of returning veterans is an ongoing mission for Heal Vets. In recent weeks they have partnered with "Walking Dead" actress Kerry Cahill. Kerry Cahill describes herself as an army brat growing up in small rural towns of Montana, Oregon, and Texas.
In 2009 Cahill’s life changed forever when her father Michael Cahill who was fatally shot while working at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
Kerry Cahill joined forced with Help Heal Veterans (Heal Vets) to create a wristband in memory of her father similar to the one he wore daily.
Heal Vets arts and crafts also provide therapy for veterans suffering from memory loss, stroke or extremity weakness.
"My dad was a hero he died saving the lives of others, and that is how I want his legacy to continue, helping others," says Kerry Cahill.
"When we first saw Michael Cahill's wristband it inspired us to share his story further. His life was a mission to heal veterans and our military. And he dedicated his life to the healing process. And he gave his life to protect those he treated. Working with his daughter Kerry Cahill on developing Cahill Wristband has been an honor." Says Heal Heal Veterans CEO Joe McClain
Heal Vets provides Arts and crafts therapy kits to help the rehabilitation of veterans. From those recuperating from injuries such as PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Heal Vets arts and crafts also provide treatment for veterans suffering from memory loss, stroke or extremity weakness. Help Heal Veterans has distributed more than 31 million kits since 1971 from hundreds of craft categories.
McClain adds, "PTSD and TBI are growing issues with returning veterans. The importance of taking care of all wounds both physical and mental is a priority. Complete wellness has to be addressed for veterans to go back to fruitful and fulfilling civilian life." Says McClain.
Initially, as Decoration Day the day originated from the years following the Civil War. Ending in 1965, the Civil War took more lives than any conflict in U.S. history.
Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed, and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
The tragic loss of life led to the country claiming land to build national cemeteries. By the 1860’s towns and villages were holding springtime tributes to their fallen loved ones.
Kerry Cahill is on a mission to ensure Michael Cahill’s work continues and to make sure that day filled with fate in November 2009 has a legacy and meaning.
"The wristband will be part of the craft kits provided by Heal Vets to veterans nationwide. The kits help give veterans a purpose and work well to distract them from the horrors of war and assist in helping them live a somewhat normal life. The goal for both myself and Heal Vets is to create something that keeps the memory of my father and his work in the area of mental health and to help those suffering from post-traumatic syndrome (PTSD)," says Cahill.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a national holiday.
"Memorial Day is about remembering military and veterans. Everyone should take the time to remember that because of the brave we are the land of the free," says McClain.