There were 9 guys graduating with him and they were each expected to say a little something. They had been told to be prepared. After all, these ceremonies usually have several hundred people in attendance. Yesterday, I was told there were about 200 people there. Well, Allen just planned to say "Thank You" and be done so he didn't prepare anything. Then the moment got him and he actually spoke for quite a while.
I got a phone call last night after it was all over with from our good friend Wendy, who volunteers at the program and has become extremely attached to Allen. I'm so glad she called and told me about the day because Allen was pretty exhausted last night and not too talkative! According to Wendy, Allen did great! He made it through the ceremony, which that is a huge accomplishment by itself. But he also shared with them how much the program, the people, the other vets, and his family mean to him. He credits the program with saving his life and that without the love and support of me and the boys he wouldn't be here today. He brought the audience to tears and there was much said throughout by many of the speakers about Allen. Not only did the program have a huge impact on his life, but apparently he made a difference in many lives that he has met there as well.
Let me tell you how awesome this makes me feel. I am so incredibly proud of Allen. He has proven to himself that God does have a purpose for his life. He has demonstrated to our boys what determination and hard work can do and that no matter what happens to you in life, you can never give up. Everyday is still a struggle for him, but he knows how to overcome. He is a survivor, not a victim. I am so thankful to have him in our life.
His work at The Pathway Home is not done. He will be staying there a while longer to do some more one on one work with the psychologists there. But he has come such a long way from where he was last September when my sister and I walked him through those doors. He has found his smile again, his laugh. It's such a relief to see him get some enjoyment out of life again. And while he credits the program with saving his life, that credit goes to God and to Allen, for all the hard work he put into it. The program wouldn't be successful if he hadn't done the work.
Thank you to everyone at The Pathway Home! You are doing incredible work and changing the lives of many. Our family will be forever grateful!!
If anyone reading this wants more information on The Pathway Home, feel free to email me, or visit their website www.thepathwayhome.org It is a non profit program that is completely free to OIF/OEF veterans. If you know someone who may benefit from the program, Allen and I highly recommend it. If you are looking for somewhere to donate to that is changing lives for veteran's, check them out and consider donating.