Aug 9, 2017
Photo caption: Army National Guard Sergeant William Drake and family enjoying their recent trip to Walt Disneyland.
For more photos: http://bit.ly/2veJv8z
Hyrum-based Army National Guard Sergeant William Drake recently received A Warrior’s Wish® of a dream Disneyland family vacation from Hope For The Warriors®.
Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope to service members and their families. Its first established program, A Warrior’s Wish, honors the goals and desires of severely wounded service members, veterans, and their families.
Looking to reconnect and recharge with his family, the stay-at-home, veteran dad requested a Disneyland vacation where he spent one of his most memorable childhood experiences.
“I am beyond thankful for this wonderful opportunity presented to me from Hope For The Warriors that it’s hard to put into words,” said Drake. “When I was told that my wish was coming true I couldn’t believe it. But seeing my kids’ eyes light up when we told them where we were going at the airport, was worth it alone. Each day brought new and exciting memories, from dinner with Mickey to exciting roller coasters, my kids were in heaven.”
Drake served four years in the Army followed by an additional 18 months in the Army National Guard serving two, one-year, deployments in Iraq. In 2005, four months into his second deployment, Drake and his unit were conducting missions in Karbala when an IED hit the Humvee behind the tank he was in resulting in self-blame for the accident.
Shortly after, his regiment’s continued IED patrols and direct combat firefights were resulting in more causalities amongst his fellow soldiers adding to his feelings of self-blame and guilt.
Upon returning from deployment, Drake began to experience flashbacks, zoning out, disturbed and interrupted sleep, and frustration with loud noises. He began treatment services in June 2013 and continues to regularly attend sessions to improve his PTSD and depression.
“When serving in the military, extended family vacations aren’t the norm due to time restraints, deployments and finances,” said Robin Kelleher, president and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “We’re honored to have provided Sgt. Drake the opportunity to relax, recharge and create new memories with his family.”
In 2017, 12 wishes will be granted through Hope For The Warriors. The wishes fulfill a desire for a better quality of life or support a quest for gratifying endeavors for those who have sustained severe physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty.
Since the program’s inception, A Warrior’s Wish has granted 167 wishes.
For sponsorship and volunteer opportunities for the A Warrior’s Wish program, contact Chrystal Keilers at ckeilers@hopeforthewarriors.
org or (832) 776-9379.
To apply for a wish, visit hopeforthewarriors.org/story/
19331538/a-warriors-wish and register online.
For more information on Hope For The Warriors and A Warrior’s Wish, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook or Twitter.
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