Warrior Sanctuary began in 2019 when our founders Brian and Monica Feil felt the need for something more to help end suicide among the veteran community. After experiencing many personal battles, struggles, and transitions of their own they sought to find a way to fill in the gap of what was already available. Realizing the importance of purpose, engagement, and belonging as a crucial aspect for mental and emotional healing helped birth the concept of Warrior Sanctuary.
An information meeting was held with a variety of people from the community to include veterans, mental health therapists, pastors, non-profit leaders, and business leaders. With a heart for veterans, and the personal experiences to drive them, many of the people from that meeting joined to serve on the Board of Directors or volunteer to support this concept. In June 2019, Warrior Sanctuary became a recognized 501C3 organization.
Warrior Sanctuary began in a rented commercial storage unit setup with the ability to do woodworking and welding activities. During this time, connections were built within the community and the word began to spread.
In 2020, operations moved to our current Waters Road location, which provided access to multiple acres of the beautiful outdoors. There was much work to be done in preparing the land to include: removing an old trailer, clearing trash and debris (we filled many dumpster loads!), and clearing of wooded areas and fallen trees from previous hurricanes.
There has been lots of progress for Warrior Sanctuary over the past 3 years! Even amid a pandemic and shutdown, the organization saw continual growth - it seems the outdoors was good therapy for many people! During this time, we have worked to prepare our wood splitting area, garden area, parking area, gathering areas for events, as well as a very large fire pit in the back! The purchase of a small project building allows us to engage with veterans in woodworking activities. Warrior Sanctuary holds regular veteran engagement events such as cookouts, camping, fishing trips, land nav, wood burning, and holiday parties. We continue to do peer-to-peer support through individual meetings, projects, and through phone calls and texts.
We look forward to the next chapter as we continue to press forward in our pursuit to end veteran suicide one person at a time through connecting, building bonds, and reminding each other that we are not alone. Warrior Sanctuary serves as a reminder that we have brothers and sisters available to listen, support, encourage, and walk through the struggles together! Our bond is forever!!!