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NotAlone.com - Community Support for Warriors

  • Published: 2009-12-09 (Revised/Updated 2010-07-11) : Disabled World.
  • Synopsis: Not Alone draws on a group of unique individuals with personal experiences in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

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The people behind NotAlone.com draw on a group of unique individuals with personal experiences in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The NotAlone.com website started from the idea of creating a space for warriors and their families with combat stress to come together, spend time with others, and begin the process of healing. The site is there for warriors from any branch of service who are currently serving, have served in combat, and for those who have recently returned home in particular. NotAlone.com is also for family members and friends of warriors who deal with the effects of combat stress, and those who support and care about America's warriors and their families.

When warriors return from deployment, combat stress presents them with a unique set of challenges. NotAlone.com has created a community that provides education while assisting all involved to overcome barriers they encounter and fears, helping both warriors and their families to recover. NotAlone.com is partnering with additional organizations in order to provide resources for people experiencing combat stress.

The site helps people through both forums and presentation of stories. The forums at Not Alone help people by presenting them with the opportunity to read about how others are feeling, gain education, and the ability to ask others for assistance. The forums also give people the opportunity to learn what life may be like after deployment.

There are many stories available through Not Alone, with warriors describing their military service and experiences during the war. The stories describe the experiences they have had upon coming home from the war experience, as well as the changes. Many of these warriors describe the ways in which they have tried to re-discover themselves; at times with unsuccessful diversions, although eventually they find their way back to life.

There are family stories as well - stories describing having loved ones return from deployment. Many of the stories are from spouses who openly depict their warrior's changes and the impact on their life and the family as a whole. They describe the struggles they have experienced with finding assistance for their warrior, as well as bringing them as a family to a new sense of normal. Some of the family members in the stories that are presented are caregivers for warriors that have been severely wounded during combat.

Not Alone started in the year 2008 after a group of warriors noticed that there is a gap in the government's ability to assist warriors and their family members as they come home home from war. There was a need for an online community that was confidential; one where warriors could meet and assist one another. The people who began NotAlone.com have personal experiences that led them to reach out to those who need assistance, and the site is now in its second year.

Not Alone has created partnerships with other organizations, to include Vote Vets, Little Planet Learning, Actus Lend/Leasing, Armed Services Mutual Benefit Association, The Warriors' Legacy Fund, Centerstone, The Wounded Warrior Project, and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. The partnerships between Not Alone and these organizations have and continue to create new ways to help those who are returning from war, all across the nation.

The first big step is to understand that your reactions to combat stress are something to be expected. Knowing this helps you to begin understanding and acknowledging the issues before you. The stories at Not Alone give people a foundation to begin understanding that they truly are not alone. Through the stories on the site, you will receive many ideas about the steps you can take.

Family members can gain from the stories as well, hearing about how other families and wives have dealt with similar situations. Family members can also listen to the stories told by warriors to help them understand where their warrior is coming from. They can learn what -not- to do when their loved one returns home.

The NotAlone.com website is continuing to evolve. Not Alone brings people together through:

Resources
A Story Site
Social Networking
An Advice Section
Community Forums
Online Assessments
Live Online Group Workshops

The people behind NotAlone.com draw on a group of unique individuals with personal experiences in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These people have been where many of these warriors are, and have struggled to regain their own lives and establish a new sense of normal upon returning home. These people are warriors, professionals, and experts who have been vital to bringing the NotAlone.com website to reality. They understand; they, 'get it.' They have been through the war experience, returning home from war and finding the hope that their persistence, passion and experience can help other people on their journey too.

Michael Jones is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy. At USMA he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He then served over 8 years in a variety of leadership positions as an Infantry officer in the United States Army in both the 1st Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He served overseas in Bosnia in 1997, and then embarked on extended and violent tours in Afghanistan in 2002 and in Iraq during 2003 and 2004 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final assignment was as a Rifle Company Commander in the 101st Airborne fighting in Iraq where he was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Jennifer (Jenny) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Birmingham-Southern College in 2005 and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2006 with degrees in Psychology and Philosophy. She worked from 2006-2007 at UAB under Dr. Edward Taub, researching the effectiveness of Constraint Induced Therapy (CIT) on children ages 2-7. Since 2005, she has worked with the YMCA as a group fitness instructor. At Not Alone, Jenny is in charge of outreach. She finds and records most of the stories on the site.

Dr. Ray Scurfieldis Professor of Social Work, Director of the interdisciplinary Katrina Research Center, President of the Gulf Coast Faculty Council, a Faculty Senator and counseling coordinator for the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. Dr. Scurfield was an Army ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, Dickinson College and served four years on active duty as a social work officer, to include a year in Vietnam on one of the Army's two psychiatric teams. This was followed by a distinguished 25-year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in which he received numerous awards and recognitions. He directed several regional and national Post-traumatic Stress Disorder programs in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Tacoma, WA and was the initial Director of the VA's National Center for PTSD in Honolulu, HI where he was recognized as the VA Federal Manager/Supervisor of the Year in Hawaii.

There are many more people at Not Alone; highly skilled and educated people who have dedicated themselves to serving those who have served America, as well as their family members and friends. Outreach is a vital component of what the site is about. Their goal is give every warrior and their families a confidential resource that helps. At Not Alone you will find people who will not only listen, they will actually understand.

Not Alone.com - A Website for Warriors, Family Members and Friends



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