When I was a kid, if you'd asked me "Who's your favorite super hero?" I probably would have said "Superman!" But now that I'm all grown up, my answer is definitely reserved for REAL people, protecting and saving all of us on a daily basis. Like fictional super heroes, they get to wear cool uniforms and drive fast vehicles. But, unlike Superman, these folks, unfortunately, are not bulletproof.
If you haven't figured it out by now, the real heroes I'm talking about are those in the military and those serving as first responders.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with John Dale with Reboot Alliance, a ministry dedicated to helping veterans, first responders and their families deal with the emotional trauma that often comes with this line of work.
John candidly shared with me his story of enlisting in the Army with the hope of making it his career. Unfortunately, the wear and tear from the extreme physical demands of his job took a toll on his body and his dream of a military career was cut short when he had to accept a medical discharge. His adjustment to civilian life was difficult, and there came a tipping point in his marriage. He and his wife realized if they didn't get help soon, they were headed for a divorce.
It was at this point when John's wife found Reboot Alliance. The couple entered the 12-week, Gospel-centered program. John was so overwhelmed by how much it changed his life, he decided to go to work for the organization full time.
John said sometimes it is hard for soldiers and first responders to ask for help in dealing with all the trauma they witness because they are supposed to be the ones we look to for strength. Additionally, they often feel asking for help may be seen as a sign of weakness to their superiors who may question their ability to do their jobs.
But the magnitude of what these brave men and women face on a daily basis takes a huge toll on them emotionally and spiritually. Often times, they take their frustrations out on family members, most often their spouses. It’s usually the spouses who first reach out for help.
Reboot Alliance is peer-led. Former or actively serving veterans lead fellow servicemen and women through the program. John said one of the most powerful weeks of the program is when they talk about forgiveness. Veterans often carry tremendous guilt about some of the things they have done in the line of duty. Learning they have a God who loves and forgives them frees them to forgive themselves. It also helps them to seek and receive forgiveness from family members they may have hurt.
But as I mentioned, Reboot Alliance isn't just for military veterans. They also sponsor a program for first responders called FirstLine, which is set up just like the one for the military. In fact, John said one of the most powerful testimonies he has heard regarding the programs’ success
came from a police supervisor.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get so busy going about my own life, I don't stop to think about the people who actually help make it possible for me to...well, go about my busy life. Our military personnel and first responders quietly go about the business of keeping us safe. John Dale helped me realize these folks make big sacrifices for ME. For US. So the next time you're at a restaurant or in a store and you see someone in uniform, go tell them you appreciate their service. It may not be a big thing for you, but it really does mean a lot to these folks.
Listen my podcast interview with John Dale to learn more about Reboot Alliance and Firstline. And if you or someone you know could benefit from these ministries, you can get connected to either via their website at www.rebootalliance.org.
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