One wounded veteran’s personal experience turned into a nationwide movement to help those in need
Wings for Warriors is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to ensure that our combat-wounded Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans returning home—or transitioning into the realm of their disabilities—are getting the adequate healthcare and financial benefits they deserve, and should be able to expect from their local communities.
The organization was founded by Anthony “Doc” Ameen, who served as a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy from 2002 to 2010. He was severely wounded in combat in 2008, while operating in Afghanistan with the 2nd Batallion/7th Marines – 1st Marine Division.
More than 30 surgeries later, the lower half of his left leg had been amputated, he has received reconstructive surgery to his left hand and fingers, and received countless operations to save his right leg—not to mention ongoing treatment for the mental and emotional suffering, post-traumatic stress (PTS) and other burden’s Anthony faced.
Another battle for benefits
Anthony understands firsthand what other wounded warriors face on a daily basis during their recovery process; it took him more than three years and help from many people to secure the benefits he was owed.
It is not an easy task to make certain all of the promised entitlements are met and delivered in a timely fashion. It is extremely stressful and draining for wounded warriors to make a dozen phone calls and/or send countless emails every day to track down their benefits, all while they should be focused 100% on their healthcare, recovery, families, and transition into civilian life.
Wings for Anthony becomes Wings for Warriors
During Anthony’s recovery and fight for benefits, his family spent thousands upon thousands of dollars—and tons of time—to fly cross-country to be by his side, money they simply didn’t have. His church held a fundraising event called Wings for Anthony to help his family cover their expenses.
Once Anthony was well enough, he decided to turn his personal project into a national project to help others. “It is absolutely despicable that veterans must fight so hard for their rights and benefits,” he explains. “They’ve already been through so much; why must we make them run the gauntlet again, especially when they are so vulnerable?”
“Wings for Warriors helps ensure recovering servicemen and women get the medical services they need, plenty of support for their families, and the financial and retirement benefits they deserve from the U.S. military.”
Partnering with U.S. Pain Foundation
Both Wings for Warriors and U.S. Pain Foundation recognize the need to care for our returning servicemen and women, so a partnership between these two organizations helps ensure effective use of resources. Through events, print materials (like this magazine!), speaking engagements and more, we are working together to spread the word about the ways we can help veterans.
Services offered by Wings for Warriors:
Wings for Warriors offers a host of services for the veterans it serves:
Navigating the Healthcare System: Wings for Warriors takes donations and uses them on a case-by-case basis to help wounded veterans access supplementary services like meditation training and yoga. The organization also helps ensure veterans can get any kind of service their healthcare team thinks will benefit them. Anthony and his staff help veterans and their families understand and navigate the extremely complicated military medical system so the veteran can heal successfully and get all the benefits he or she deserves.
Legal: The organization helps veterans and their families connect with attorneys and other advisors who can help them file claims for benefits with the military. “It is incredibly difficult to navigate the benefits system, so we try to help as many veterans as possible access legal help, so they can leave some of that fight up to experts—and focus on their recovery,” says Anthony.
Travel Assistance: Some of the funds raised by Wings for Warriors helps pay for travel costs so family members can be with their wounded veterans during treatment and recovery. “This is so essential, because wounded veterans can feel very isolated, especially once they’re released from inpatient treatment but still are in recovery at home,” explains Anthony. “We don’t want a single recovering veteran to feel alone.”
Medical Cannabis: Anthony and his organization advocate for greater access to medical cannabis for the treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress. “Research shows medical cannabis is an excellent alternative treatment for many people, one that is non-addictive, gentle on the body’s systems, and effective in the long-run,” he says. “We want to make this tool accessible to all.”
Public Awareness: Anthony appears on television shows, radio programs, websites, and countless other forms of media to raise awareness of this issue. “Many people assume we take care of our vets, and have no idea how big this issue is,” he explains. “I love getting in front of people and teaching them—because once they know our vets aren’t getting the respect and care they deserve, they step up and help.”
Additional Resources: Wings for Warriors offers a handful of other resources on its website, including links to dozens of partner organizations that can help with job search and placement; complementary therapies like transcendental meditation; educational benefits; crisis situations and suicide hotlines. Wings for Warriors also offers a special focus on the mental health needs of veterans who are living with PTS, traumatic brain injury (TBI), suicidal ideations, and more.
Want to get involved?
Wings for Warriors needs volunteers to help with events, organizations to donate their services, and funds to help serve veterans in need. To get involved, visit WingsforWarriors.org.