Healthy Veteran Highlights • January/February 2022


Dear Friends of the National Center for Healthy Veterans,

Our last newsletter of 2021 looked back in gratitude at an amazing year – a year of inspiring teamwork and God’s favor on behalf of “Returning Healthy Veterans to America.” Now we peer forward into 2022 – a year which will possess equally amazing opportunities and no doubt some daunting challenges, both of which will require us to “lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6) This newsletter will highlight the “hope and future” that God has before us in 2022.  Here’s a preview:

  • Plays of the Day” which provide some things to anticipate in this New Year – new buildings, new beginnings, new life, new laborers for the harvest, and new mountains to climb.
  • “Meet the Team” — Dr. Eric Scalise
  • “Diving Deeper” provides an extended reflection regarding the power of NEW and how we gain or maintain our “vital optimism” in the coming year. 
  • “In the Media” highlights, including a generous grant from the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation for conduct of Veterans mental health programs and research.
  • “Prayer Points” as we cry out to God on behalf of Veterans, First Responders, Active Military, and their Families.

On this cusp of a New Year, I provide one last dose of encouragement from Hebrews 12:   “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”  We are grateful for the great cloud of witnesses, volunteers, financial supporters, and faithful staff who are running this race together on behalf of our Nation’s Veterans.  May we run this next year with endurance, and may Jesus be our trail guide on the exciting path ahead.

With blessings for our New Year together,

Robert F. Dees
Major General, U.S. Army, Retired
NCHV President & CEO

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    We certainly welcome and need your further support on behalf of Returning Healthy Veterans to America!

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    Diving Deeper


    In the introduction to Mid-Course Correction, Gordon MacDonald discusses a characteristic called “vital optimism” which at its very heart is simply HOPE.  MacDonald highlights John Keegan’s The First World War sobering discussion of the British battle of the Somme where they suffered 425,000 casualties, threatening their vital optimism as a nation. MacDonald defines this vital optimism as “a quality of spirit possessed by a community or a person where there is a persuasion that the best is yet to be… From such a spirit come increasing excitement, incentive, and the love of nobler purposes.” He further states that vital optimism is really hope — “the confident expectation that history is going somewhere and that God, our Creator and Redeemer, is powerfully directing it.”

    Conversely, when a nation or an individual have been crushed, defeated, “body slammed,” there is often a temporary or permanent loss of optimism and hope.  Explaining what this dynamic looks like in the lives of warriors (remember, that’s all of us!), he continues, “I have known many people who, after a personal struggle of some kind (proportionately similar to Britain’s tragedy at the Somme), have lost their vital optimism.  A man comes to mind who was suddenly terminated from a high-level job. No one, including him, could have foreseen such a possibility. He was devastated; he never really recovered from the shock. Now, more than a dozen years later, he remains stuck in cynicism and bitterness, and as far as I can see, his life is going nowhere.” 

    Hence, a critical element in “Bouncing Back” without getting stuck is the recovery of “vital optimism” and the recovery of hope for a brighter future.  Part of this process is learning to Sing A New Song, a metaphor I will use for the broader concept of being renewed in body, mind, soul, spirit, and relationships as we rise from the ashes of brokenness. 

    Although not musically gifted, I periodically try to sing—in the shower, in the car, usually away from human ears unless I am really with a trusted friend.  When singing a new song, my notes are halting, often discordant, exploratory.  Yet soon these tentative, plaintiff attempts at melody quickly become robust, clear (at least in my tone-deaf ears), and sung to the top of my lungs.  Often by surprise, I suddenly find myself singing with total abandon, “going for it,” confident and optimistic beyond all expectation. 

    Similarly, as we obediently seek to sing a new song in our recovery from trauma and transition, we will soon find that the Creator God starts refilling us—putting spring back into our tired steps, igniting sparks of creativity and vision into our depleted minds and hearts, and supernaturally infusing greater clarity and confidence into our dispirited souls.

    This is the transformation we seek for each one of our Veterans at the National Center for Healthy Veterans.

    Meet The Team

    • LIFE TRANSFORMATION: Please celebrate the joy of having Veterans in our first tiny homes! Especially when the Veterans got to build them side by side with all of you. Priceless!

    • VOLUNTEERISM: Scores of Veterans and their families were greatly impacted this year due to the love, perseverance, and determination of so many supporters. We would like to provide a special thank you to the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council, the Veterans Motorcycle Club, and the American Legion for the incredible support shown! 

    • IN-KIND DONATIONS: What an amazing year for non-cash donations! The biggest surprise of the year was 2 therapy donkeys coming later in December. AMAZING!

    • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Veterans Day with Dr. Ben and Candy Carson gave the opportunity for us to gratefully recognize our 20 million Veterans, but it also gave us great pleasure to recognize 56 of our business partners, and over 400 volunteers.
    • FARM ITEMS: This year we have primarily accepted only donations for our farm products and we were rewarded with God’s bounty. While this provided for our financial needs, it was an even greater gift to see us be able to feed those that could not donate. What a pleasure it is to see the joy in the eyes of children and young families as an unexpected benefit of this work. God is great!

    • CONSTRUCTION ITEMS: We can be ever thankful for all of you from age 14 to 92 that have helped us build everything from high-speed internet services, homes and barns, and even deliver food to those in need during the holidays! 

    Meet The Team

    NCHV Board Member Dr. Eric Scalise
    The National Center for Healthy Veterans is blessed with amazing staff, volunteers, Patriots, and a governing Board who are equally committed to making a lasting difference in the lives of Veterans and their families.  In this edition we introduce one of those NCHV board members: 
    Dr. Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the President of LIV Consulting, LLC. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) with Hope For The Heart, an international Christian counseling ministry offering biblical hope and practical help.  He is also the former Senior Vice President for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University.
    Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 40 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field, and he served six years on the Virginia Board of Counseling under two governors, helping to write the MFT regulations for the state. Specialty areas include curriculum development, professional/pastoral stress and burnout, combat trauma and PTSD, marriage and family issues, grief and loss, addictions and recovery, leadership development, and lay counselor training.
    As the son of a diplomat, Dr. Scalise was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, and has also lived and traveled extensively around the world. He is a published author, conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, universities, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues. Dr. Scalise and his wife Donna have been married for 39 years, have twin sons who are combat veterans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and four grandchildren.
    We are grateful for professionals and servants like Dr. Eric Scalise on our NCHV team. 

    In The Media

    Prayer Points

    • Pray that the work of the National Center for Healthy Veterans would rapidly advance to provide help, hope, and healing for our nation’s Veterans and their families.
    • Join us in praising God for the beauty of His Creation at Valor Farm — horses, rivers, cattle, valleys, chickens, the fruit of the land, the beauty of the fields, the wonder of His Creation. 
    • Join us in praising God for the amazing Army of NCHV volunteers, a multitude of generous supporters, and a faithful staff.
    • Pray that God would steady the hand of the 22 Veterans a day that are considering ending their lives. 
    • Without mentioning specifics, pray for the many Veterans and their families in our midst who have financial issues, health crises, relational dysfunction, and suffer from mental and emotional challenges. May God bring wellness to Veterans throughout the land. 
    • Pray that God will provide laborers and resources to “Return Healthy Veterans to America,”  and may these Healthy Veterans provide unique contributions to America as role models, parents, educators, coaches, business professionals, and societal influencers. 


    Devotions with Patriots and Staff              Monday thru Friday at 12pm
    Community Bonfire                                         Thursdays at 6pm
     Volunteer Saturday                                         February 19 at 9am-1pm
    Local Advisory Board Meeting                    February 21  at 6pm
    Volunteer Saturday                                         March 5  at 9am-1pm
    Volunteer Saturday                                         March 19  at 9am-1pm


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    In the last stage of the program Patriots learn about post graduation support and how to maintain balance in their new environments. They also conduct an outbound assessment of the outcome of their PDP and receive assistance transitioning to new employment and living arrangements.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Outbound Assessments
    • Graduate Support Programs
    • Graduation

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    NCHV partners with the best in industry and the best educators to help veterans develop the skills they need to transition successfully to civilian employment at ZERO cost to them.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Transition Preparation
    • Career Preparation

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    A nationally renowned, faith-based trauma healing course designed to help veterans of all eras and their families recover from the spiritual and moral wounds of war.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Less Pain, Anger, Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression.
    • More Forgiveness and Meaning
    • Better Social Participation and Connectedness
    • Quality of Life

    “The hospital fixed my body, but REBOOT fixed my soul. REBOOT sought out and resued the man I once was.”

    Trauma Healing For Everyone

    This one-of-a-kind course teaches you how to build bounce, weather the storm, and bounce back without getting stuck. This course is widely used in church and academic settings to build personal resilience.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Preparing for the Storms of Life
    • Weathering the Storms
    • Bouncing Back
    • Navigating Adversity

    “We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.”
    2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    Resilience: Learning to Bounce

    The Patriot onboarding period includes familiarization with the farm, its work, living, and recreational areas, an individual assessment, and the creation of the holistic Personal Development Plan.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Onboard & Familiarization
    • Inbound Assessments
    • Personal Development Plan

    Returning Healthy Veterans to America