Team members from the 2012 trip meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Heroes to Heroes:
Saving Veterans' Lives through Compassion, Empathy and Innovation 
 
Our Mission: Heroes to Heroes Foundation, a non-denominational 501(c)(3) organization, provides a suicide prevention/PTS (post-traumatic stress) management program for wounded veterans through spiritual healing and peer support.
 
Who We Serve: The Heroes to Heroes Foundation serves all combat veterans, regarless of conflict. Veterans of Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq have all participated in our program. We welcome all who are having challenges with PTS or are having challenges returning to civilian life after their time serving our country.
 
What We Do: Heroes to Heroes teams up 10 veterans for a life-changing journey to Israel. Each team includes 10 Americans, five Israelis, and two team coaches (veterans from both combat and the Heroes to Heroes program).
 
Our program is designed to help our participants develop social and emotional bonds with one another while exploring their spirituality and pushing themselves phsycially. Teams meet via Skype to get to know one another prior to the journey and stay together via Skype and social media upon their return to the United States.
 
In Israel, each person can connect to the healing process in many ways:
  • Spiritually - Visits to holy sites such as Bethlehem, The Western Wall, Stations of the Cross, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the opportunity to be baptized in the River Jordan, offer soul-searching and inner peace regardless of belief.
  • Emotionally - Planting trees for friends and family who were lost and in honor of people still with us (an ancient Jewish tradition) and visiting sites including Masada, battlefields and memorials, Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum), and the 9/11 Memorial in Jerusalem provide reflection and self-examination.
  • Physically - Cycling, swimming, sailing, kayaking, hiking, and keeping to an itinerary all push each participant physically and is an important part of the team-building experience. 
  • Socially - Team meetings to conclude each day, visits to veterans organizations, and bonding with Israeli partners help to redevelop social skills that may be repressed due to PTS, trauma and depression. 

Michelle and Kim
Team members Michelle and Kim, with her service dog Toby, from the 2011 trip.

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What We Expect: Heroes to Heroes requires a one-year commitment to the team. Each team will meet via Skype a minimum of every six (6) weeks post-journey for one year. Each team member is expected to commit to his or her team to support one another and be there for one another to help with transitioning back to civilian life. This is an extremely emotional journey, and the processing post-journey is critical. Team members must work together. 

The Heroes to Heroes program is an alcohol-free/drug-free program. The program is focused on healing and peer support. All partipants are expected to refrain from alcohol and, of course, recreational drugs throughout the journey. 

Heroes to Heroes participants are, in many ways, ambassadors for the United States, as well as their former branch of service and their families. Our teams are greeted by government officials and are welcomed by Israelis in general. Our participants leave a lasting impression on people they meet, so we ask that all particpants honor Heroes to Heroes and the U.S. reputation as we travel. 

Heroes to Heroes provides health insurance for the time in Israel. We also require participants to be registered and under the care of their local Veterans Administration in order to take part. 

Costs: The only cost to particpants is for a U.S. Passport (must have an expiration date of six months or more post-journey), airfare to meet the team at point of departure to Israel (usually either EWR (Newark Liberty, NJ), JFK, or LAX), and money for incidentals such as gifts and souvenirs.