Providing Care and Preventing Suicides
Healing Warriors Program was founded because of a gap in care available to our Service Members, and the need to interrupt the factors that lead to Service Member suicides.
Our story begins post 9/11 in the corporate sector.
Co-founders Ana Yelen and Rochelle Poland met when Ana was still a senior manager at high-tech giant, Sun Microsystems and Rochelle was a product manager at another tech giant, Arrow Electronics. Since both were certified as Healing Touch practitioners, they recognized a need for non-narcotic care options for returning service members. The first annual Service day event was organized in 2007 as a privately-sponsored service event. The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space museum generously hosted the free clinic event which included 14 practitioners donating their time and skill to veteran and active duty service members and their families between 2007-2010. In 2010, Rochelle and Ana’s volunteer relationship with Lifespark Cancer Resources resulted in an opportunity to provide a Service Day of free clinic services at the Denver VA Medical center for Nurse’s day. The practitioner team provided free sessions from 8 am to 7 pm and with a high demand for services, the event was deemed a success.
Denver VA requested the team back over several years afterwards. As headlines blazed with rising suicide rates among our service members, a national Opioid crisis, and veteran care delays, the need for care options was clear. Seeing the crisis, Shelley and Ana were joined by Jane Trexler, whose parents were both United States Marines, to determine how best to serve our Veteran community. In the fall of 2012, they established a 501c3 nonprofit clinic, Healing Warriors Program. In January 2013, a planning team was assembled to create the operating model and standards. In late June 2013, one of the planning team members, Jackie Cooper, offered free clinic space in her clinic, providing the fledgling Healing Warriors Program organization with a space to operate a pilot clinic. This clinic opened its doors in July 2013. Within 4 months, it was clear that more space was needed and Healing Warriors Program clinic moved to 2-room treatment clinic with a private reception area and business office.
With no funding to spread the word, and relying on volunteer staff, it was unclear whether the clinic would be able to survive. But our veterans, having experienced results, stepped in and spread the word for us. It wasn’t long before the demand for services, generated from word of mouth referrals, grew, making it necessary for the clinic to move once again in 2014, this time to a 4-room treatment clinic open 5 days a week.
In March of 2019, having outgrown our space again, we moved to our current headquarters clinic at 1044 West Drake Road. This clinic space has increased our capacity by adding another treatment room and a business office. From our opening in July of 2013 through mid 2019, the Healing Warriors Program clinic in Fort Collins Clinic has delivered over 15,000 sessions.
With approximately 377,000 veterans in Colorado, approximately 55,000 of which reside in northern Colorado, and with climbing numbers of returning service members with Post Traumatic Stress, pain issues, and traumatic brain injuries, we have much work to do.
Tax Id: 45-5093751
Combined Federal Campaign: #14114
Combined Colorado Campaign: #1401