For those of you who know me, you know that I love books. I have bookshelves lined with them. At times, with my schedule, it is challenging to read a book for “fun,” but there are rare moments when I get to do just that, read on my own time, a book that has nothing to do with research, writing, teaching, but a book that I am genuinely interested in.
Sarah Verardo had trouble finding a book, a children’s book, that reflected a story of her family. Her daughter came home and told her, “someone said Daddy is gross.”
War injuries can have a tremendous effect on the family, and Verardo knew she had to do something. You see, Verardo’s husband, Mike, is a double-amputee, an Army infantryman who was hit by an IED (improvised explosive device) in Afghanistan.
I know someone else who has been hit by an IED, but, there are no visible injuries from that. Not all wounds are visible.
After returning to combat, Mike Verardo was hit by yet another IED. This one caused more damage, with burns over thirty-percent of his body and a leg that would more than likely be amputated, Mike’s chance for survival were slim to none. Odds that no young man or woman should ever face, but unfortantely, are part of war.
I can’t fathom what Sarah went through in caring for her severely injured husband, and children. However, I can tell you the message and work she is doing through her children’s book, “Hero at Home,” is making a difference.
When Verardo decided to write the book, she featured her daughter, Gracie, who heard from another child at school that “daddy is gross,” prompting sales to benefit The Independence Fund.
The mission of The Independence Fund reads as follows:
The Independence Fund’s mission is to empower our severely wounded Veterans and their Caregivers to take control of their lives. We provide the resources and tools that enable Veterans to regain their independence, and fight for their ability to sustain it.
There’s a Mobility Program:
Many severely wounded Veterans have lost the ability to experience activities they previously enjoyed. Wounded Veterans who use our all-terrain mobility devices regain the ability to do the things they love, transforming their lives toward a better future.
A Caregiver Program:
The Independence Fund serves the heroes behind the heroes: the Caregivers who work tirelessly to support wounded Veterans day-in and day-out. We give Caregivers the means to build strong networks and receive the emotional and physical support they need.
By inviting Veterans to participate in sporting events, providing funding for adaptive equipment, and granting funds for Veteran adaptive sports organizations, our Adaptive Sports program gives wounded Veterans the opportunity to improve their well-being.
And, an advocacy program:
For Veterans returning with the scars of war, the fight doesn’t end upon their arrival home. Unfortunately, some of the biggest battles are with the very institutions who are supposed to be on their side. We understand the challenges, and are fighting for those who fought for us!
So, why The Independence Fund?
Sarah Verardo is the excecutive director. She is doing good work for those veterans and their families (and kids!) who need some extra help, a little direction, and guidance.
You can find out more about the Independence Fund here: https://www.independencefund.org/
And, if you are looking for reading material that will help your children understand the scars and wounds of war, please check out “Hero at Home.” You can find it at one of my favorite sites, Amazon!