Each year, Angel Flight West (AFW) partners with the White Heart Foundation (WHF) to fly veterans to the Guardian Project, a therapeutic outdoor experience for post-9/11 veterans. Your donation towards our summer fundraiser helps us arrange missions for veterans, ensuring those who have served can access the resources they need.
Corporal Jed Morgan, the foundation’s camp creator and director, has been leading the program for seven years. A war veteran injured in combat himself, Cpl. Jed witnessed the PTSD and other trauma fellow soldiers were experiencing after coming back from deployment. After experiencing an even more personal loss, he knew it was time to do something to try and mitigate suicide among those who have served.
Ryan Sawtelle, Executive Director of the WHF, offered Jed the opportunity to start the Guardian Project as part of their organization — and it wasn’t long before the first excursion launched in 2016 in Lander, Wyo. Since that first year, the project has helped 80 veterans come together to find hope and healing.
When speaking of the program’s impact, Jed says the experience helps veterans turn their lives around in amazing ways. “They’re able to do a 180,” he says. “Sometimes, they’ve isolated themselves for years because of the trauma. But by the end of the trip, we see them opening up, sometimes even sharing their story with hundreds of people at our reception dinner. “
Over the past five years, Angel Flight West has flown more than 100 missions for veterans, flying them to this life-changing program and back home. “I’ve gone on quite a few flights, says Cpl. Jed. “The pilots are amazing individuals who really care about each person’s story.”
Recently, Command Pilot Ryan Cowley flew Cpl. Jed back home after the latest Guardian Project. “Being able to give a minimal amount of service back to those who have dedicated years of their lives to serving their country is an incredible experience,” says Ryan. “It’s humbling to be able to ease their transportation to healing and recovery.”
With your support, we’ll continue working with partners like the White Heart Foundation to help veterans access therapeutic services. Make your donation today.