So, what’s so special about a hat - especially an OHT hat? After reading this story, there will be NO doubt in your mind!!! NONE!!!
Let me go back in time when OHT was in its infancy. I knew if we were going to support the recovery of wounded service members and veterans, I and a few others needed to see first hand what the visible and invisible injuries were. Where best could we see them?
So, a group of us traveled to Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals - at the time they were 2 separate facilities. (Today they are one-Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda,MD). Our mission was to deliver OHT hats to patients and talk to those who would share a bit of their journey from injury to recovery.
BUT, we were in no way prepared for what battle had done to our warriors. There in the workout room (MATC) were 60 men and women who had been severely injured and working hard to recover and deal with their new “normal.”
There was Brendan-the first quadruple amputee to survive his injuries. We were instructed NOT to give him a hat that day because he was depressed. Two months into losing an eye, 10 teeth and all 4 limbs ‘ya think he was depressed? I vowed I would never complain again after seeing what I saw that day. We all felt the same way.
But it was Jason who captured my heart. He was a triple amputee with shrapnel in his head and his face had been badly burned. He was deeply depressed. Again,’ya think?
His wife and 5 month old were there with him and his 5 year old would be coming to visit a little later - he struggled with seeing his Dad so hurt. There were no other family members there at the time to provide support so she was struggling mightily too.
I decided to give him a hat and when I did he started to cry. He said …
You see that hat covered his burns, bandages, treatment and scars. Talk about impact!!!!!! To this day I worry about Jason and hope he has been able to live an independent life alongside his wife and children.
That day I learned what an OHT hat really does - it combines the love of your country with the love of your school, team, group or organization. Pretty darn powerful!!!!!! Each and every one in the MATC felt the same way. They loved the hats and at times there was a rivalry going on when two of them wanted the same hat. Lots of competition and laughs over who was going to get that coveted hat.
Your purchase of a hat or other OHT merchandise/products will help support those recovering from unthinkable injuries - both visible and invisible. Together we can make a difference.
You can find us at www.operationhattrick.org. Help us make a bigger difference by making a purchase with a purpose.
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