The Renova Center is a 33,000 square-foot building full of caring individuals who are obsessed with doing good for God, Country, Family, Self, and Others. It's obvious. You feel the compassion when you walk through the doors and you KNOW it's real when you leave. Because you experienced it. Visitors tell me they are shocked that a place like this exists, and they just discovered it. It's just what they need, they say. Timing is everything. We've been here all along, preparing for you.
It's pretty obvious why we love God, country, family, work, and you.
Those of you close to me know that I am passionate about all these areas of life and then add helicopters, NASA, physics, math, health, wellness, and Alaska to the mix. Why am I obsessed with Alaska? Because it pushes me to grow and learn.
It's a place that provides harsh life lessons with weather conditions that are not for the faint of heart. Being there is like stepping back in time to what I imagine was similar to the pioneer days. Man lives far apart from his neighbors, and shoulder to shoulder with the elements.
Survival is foundational
Finding shelter is critical, along with food. The animals teach how to survive in these extreme conditions. Every one works hard during the warm months to save up money, books, food, and firewood to make it through the cold months. Not much time or energy is put into caring about what others are wearing or the fact that their neighbor is different - curmudgeons are welcome. Loners and cowboys are valued. Survivalists are needed.
If tragedy strikes, everyone drops everything and pitches in to help their neighbor. During this crisis, everyone is a neighbor, a friend — even the tourist who comes to visit. I've seen the whole town of Talkeetna shut down - businesses and homes, as everyone ran out to save the life of a tourist who was in danger - missing - or hurt; even when it meant that one of these individuals who ran to help, lost their life. In Alaska, this scripture still holds true:
Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for a friend.
I've often been the recipient of the Alaska skilled kindness. I don't always know how to survive severe cold and dangerous conditions. I'm a city-girl - a civilian who has always been able to pick up the phone and call for help. Frequently the phone in Alaska doesn't work - or one doesn't have the phone on hand. I'm not trained in extreme survival skills but have developed a few of my own out of necessity. I do have a very deep respect for the dangers found there. And I work hard to prepare for the unknown. My neighbors taught me this.
Sometimes living in the city or suburbia feels like a wilderness. I am blessed to work with individuals who live in a wilderness - inside themselves. These individuals have lost their way - especially our veterans and first responders. These precious warriors, trained in the highest skills of survival, gave and continue to provide everything to their families and country, taking very little thought for their safety.
These are some of the greatest treasures of America.
In working with them, they tell me they feel like Humpty Dumpty. They were on their solid foundation - wall, with their teams who had their backs - but their service caused them to fall off or get knocked off. Then they come home and feel betrayed by the very country they gave everything. Some have broken bones, brains, and hearts. All the Kings-horses and all the Kings-men: the V.A., their country, families, and even God have shown them they cannot put them back together again. Most feel it's more of a "won't" put them back together, rather than "can't."
Our neighbor and friend - the veteran and first responder - needs us now. Pay it forward. These individuals are the treasures of America. If America is going to continue to be a safe place for us and others - we need to put our warriors back together. Inside Renova we house The Veteran Wellness Center of Hampton Roads. It's a non-profit that provides education information for the veterans and first responders to find resources and direction.
AMERICA: THE PEOPLE
People. People are the treasures of life. Every person counts — every life matters. If there's one great thing about America - it is an acknowledgment that everyone who comes here, each person who is born on these shores counts. They have the opportunity to make a difference. Dreams can become real in the United States of America. It's always been like that and will continue to be so, as long as there are those of us who fight for this ideal.
Perception is reality. Hold that thought.
Many criticize us, and some even plot to destroy us - but the bottom line is that everyone wants to be here. I've always known that and appreciated it. I never took it for granted. There have been times - when traveling with my little enlisted Navy family around the world - that I heard people in other countries complain about Americans, or America in general.
I did witness a handful of Americans act arrogant - refused to learn the language of the land in which they were living - and that made me sad, but I have always been proud to be an American. Not in an arrogant way - but in a humble-proud way.
Where else can a girl born into a low-income and obscure, unknown family become all that she can or wants to be? Where she gets to travel and experience different cultures and learn first hand that ALL people are the same. We all want the freedom to worship and raise our families in the way we believe, we want to be able to work and contribute, and we want to travel and learn.
There isn't any other place where these rights are protected with such vigilance, loyalty and dedication, where all efforts, resources, money, and lives are spent to make this so.
America continues to be the promised land. The place where freedom was invented and continues to flourish.
I once was told by a member of a communist country, "America can never be destroyed from without. She is too strong and protected by a strong faith in God. The only way to destroy her is from within."
Ponder that statement. I have for fifty years. America: I love thee. We can PUT Humpty Dumpty together again - if we pull together. Their job was to protect us. They did that. Our job is to honor, respect, and protect them. Put them back together again, to RESET them. That's what we do at The Renova Center. 33,000 square feet of caring. Join us.