Senator Ben Cardin Visits Melwood’s Veteran Retreat Program, Operation Tohidu

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Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) visited Melwood’s 108-acre Recreation Center in Southern Maryland last week to learn more about how Melwood is serving veterans in Maryland and around the nation. Melwood Veteran Services (MVS), helmed by retired Brigadier General David Blackledge, is best known for Operation Tohidu®, a weeklong adventure-based healing retreat for injured veterans.

According to Senator Ben Cardin, “This is something special. Melwood is providing an incredible service for our military and veterans. There is unprecedented need for the kind of mental health and trauma-related services Melwood is providing. It should be a model for others."

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) visited Melwood’s 108-acre Recreation Center in Southern Maryland last week to learn more about how Melwood is serving veterans in Maryland and around the nation. Melwood Veteran Services (MVS), helmed by retired Brigadier General David Blackledge, is best known for Operation Tohidu®, a weeklong adventure-based healing retreat for injured veterans.

“This is something special. Melwood is providing an incredible service for our military and veterans. There is unprecedented need for the kind of mental health and trauma-related services Melwood is providing. It should be a model for others,” said Senator Cardin.

Operation Tohidu’s® individualized retreats have served more than 300 veterans and active duty military struggling with service-related traumas. It is also one of the only programs in the nation specially designed for survivors of military sexual trauma. Each retreat is tailored for a specific group, including men, women, couples, and military sexual trauma survivors, in order to draw on shared experiences and make participants more comfortable. Through the support of donors, the five-day retreat is offered free of charge, including accommodations and travel.

“Thousands of veterans struggle with service-related traumas like post-traumatic stress and brain injury resulting from combat, deployments, training accidents, or military sexual trauma. That’s where Operation Tohidu® comes in,” said Gen. David Blackledge, Executive VP for MVS. “Eighty-six percent of past participants surveyed have reported a healthier, more positive view of themselves and over 90 percent of alumni surveyed say they continue to use at least one coping strategy learned at Operation Tohidu®.”

Melwood’s Chief Operating Officer Myron Thomas added, “We are grateful to Senator Cardin for taking such a strong interest in the well-being of our nation’s veterans and we look forward to working with him and other elected officials to ensure the program continues to grow and serve even more wounded veterans and service members.”

About Melwood Veterans Services

Melwood Veterans Services (MVS) is a nonprofit organization within the Melwood family of services. Through MVS, veterans seeking assistance with post-traumatic healing, employment, career development, and community reintegration can find the resources and support they need to thrive in their personal and professional lives. The MVS team is made up of veterans and specialists who have direct experiences with the issues at hand, either from their own military service or relevant work in support of those who served. For more information, visit http://www.melwood.org/veterans-services.

About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people of differing abilities in the country and offers workforce solutions to private businesses and government agencies. Melwood currently employs more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people of differing abilities – while offering job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,300 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. For more information, visit http://www.melwood.org.

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James Tyll
Melwood
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