Defenders of Freedom (DOF) was founded in 2004 by Donna Cranston. As the mother of a warrior deployed in Iraq, Donna combined her personal experiences as a military mom with her passion and desire to help our Veterans succeed with honor as they returned home. Raised in a family that instilled patriotism, Donna began her journey working with Veterans by sending care packages overseas to the Troops and participating in the Welcome Home a Hero program at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. This program supported the Army's Rest and Recuperation program for weary Soldiers who came home for 2 weeks during their yearlong tour. Donna attended her first DFW greeting in June of 2004, and it changed her life forever. Through these activities and the unfilled needs that Donna learned from her interactions with Veterans, she founded Defenders of Freedom as an avenue to connect the community to service members. Most Americans support our Troops, but just don’t know how they can help. They just needed a tangible way to participate. DOF began providing assistance to Veterans by sending care packages and providing emergency financial assistance to those that returned with disabilities and were badly in need. Donna listened to these men and women and responded to their needs. DOF expanded its services to include an evidence-based approach to treating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Veterans.
TBI is the signature wound for post 9/11 Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and historically, very little had been done to successfully treat the injury. Defenders of Freedom identified a solution to this debilitating injury and is committed to helping Veterans get this life changing treatment. Functional neurology is proving to improve the lives of the Veterans we put through the program. We believe it might be the most effective tool in combatting suicide among post 9/11 Veterans.
DOF serves both male and female Veterans who have deployed to the middle east. We have worked with Veterans across 32 states. Veterans are referred to us from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), crisis hotlines, local social service providers, and by word-of-mouth from other Veterans.
According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, TBI is a significant health issue which affects service members and Veterans during times of both peace and war. This condition is estimated to have affected 370,000 service members since 2000. For every soldier killed since 2003, seven soldiers have been injured. Multiple deployments enhance the chances of leaving a tour with TBI. Many Soldiers make it home from war seemingly outwardly untouched, when in reality they are some of the most debilitated. What we have learned from Veterans is that until they receive proper treatment for a TBI, rather than just prescribed medication to address symptoms, their road to healing is both long and challenging. It is common for DOF to see Veterans who were stellar Soldiers while on active duty, now unable to hold down civilian jobs and have no idea why they are not able to properly function. DOF has worked tirelessly with these Veterans to help them get the care that they need to get them on the right path.
Defenders of Freedom's primary goals are to provide care and transitional support for our Troops and Veterans, assistance with basic living necessities through short-term emergency financial support, address imminent physical and mental health issues, improve morale, keep Veterans engaged in a supportive community, and to provide access to Veterans with TBI to a comprehensive treatment protocol.
If you would like more information about our program you may contact us at:
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