Housing Crisis Center’s Colors Of Courage 2017 Patriot Party Assists Homeless Vets Affected By The ‘Hidden Wounds Of War’

It’s a disturbing fact, but Dallas is home to more than 1,000 homeless military veterans—and the number keeps rising. Every night, the Housing Crisis Center provides housing and support services to more than 100 vets and their families. 

So supporting these vets, and helping save them from a life of poverty and homelessness, was the purpose of the center’s Colors of Courage 2017 Patriot Party event Friday, November 3, at Dallas’ George W. Bush Institute.

Laura Moon

Denny and Connie Carreker

Leslie Ann Crozier

Dennis Moon, Katherine Wynne and Ken Hersh

Co-chaired by Laura and Dennis Moon, with Connie and Denny Carreker serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser got started with a reception and silent auction in the institute’s Cross Hall.  There, guests including Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Katherine Wynne, Sunie and Steve Solomon, Leslie Ann Crozier, Lisa and Clay Cooley, and Mary Martha and John Pickens were serenaded by a guitar-strumming musician singing Beatles and Eagles songs.

Sunie and Steve Solomon

John and Mary Martha Pickens

Then everyone repaired to the institute’s auditorium, where they were formally welcomed to the evening’s festivities by Edward Berbarie, board chairman of the Housing Crisis Center. Soon enough Edward gave way to Bush Center President and CEO Ken Hersh, who proceeded to conduct an onstage Q&A with the evening’s star attraction, retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli.

Chiarelli, the Army’s 32nd Vice Chief of Staff, was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Army and its 1.1 million active and reserve soldiers, and at one time commanded all forces in Iraq. The retired four-star general told Hersh it was then that he first observed the “hidden wounds of war” in soldiers, including the “interconnected problems” of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress.

Peter Chiarelli

“We’ve had these problems since war began,” Chiarelli said, “but we’re just now recognizing them.”

Chiarelli is now chief executive officer of an independent nonprofit called ONE MIND, he told Hersh. The group advocates on behalf of those affected by brain disease and injury via public-private partnerships between healthcare providers, researchers, academics, and the healthcare industry.

For example, Chiarelli said, ONE MIND is working with Abbott Laboratories, which is “developing a chip and a hand-held blood analyzer that can help tell if a person has been concussed.” He added, “We want to get drug companies involved in creating targeted drugs for these diseases … and really do something to help these veterans.”

What keeps you up at night? Hersh asked Chiarelli at one point. He replied: “Those young Americans who have suffered.”

Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Sherri Ansley and Lisa Cooley

Once the talk concluded, Sherri Ansley, executive director of the Housing Crisis Center, took to the podium and announced, “Now it’s time to have a party!” With that she invited everyone into the institute’s Hall of State, where there would be dinner, dancing, and a live auction featuring artwork, out-of-state trips, and a dinner for eight prepared by Kent Rathbun.

Grovel Alert: Patriot Party’s Colors Of Courage

Patriots Party’s Colors of Courage Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon have just sent word that tickets for the dinner, dancing and auction benefiting the Housing Crisis Center on Friday, November 3, are getting scarce.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

Perhaps it’s because along with Honorary Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker, Laura and Dennis have moved the fundraiser to the Bush Institute with retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli as the speaker.

And, of course, the Carrekers’ Jet Linx support has provided a real lift in spirits and funds.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect to set the mood for the upcoming Veteran’s Day on Saturday, November 11.

Before it’s too late, check out the tickets and sponsorship opportunities here!

Retired General/One Mind CEO Peter Chiarelli To Bring His Mission Addressing PST To Support Housing Crisis Center’s Programs For Vets

There was a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s when being a member of the ROTC wasn’t exactly cool compared to being on the football team. And then there was the country’s attitude about Vietnam that only heightened the non-cool factor.

Peter Chiarelli*

But there were those who recognized the need of the military and appreciated the structure and commitment by those serving the country. One of those was the son of a meat cutter in Magnolia, Washington. The boy’s name was Peter Chiarelli and not only did he sign up for the Seattle University Army ROTC, he was recognized as the school’s Distinguished Military Graduate.

And while others went on to office jobs, Peter was commissioned a second lieutenant at the age of 22. Over the years, he served in the United States, Germany, Belgium and the Middle East. As commanding general of 1st Calvary Division, he led it in the Iraq War and during Operation Iraqi Freedom II, as well as serving as commanding general of Multi-National Corps – Iraq.

For his years of services, he was named Vice-Chief of Staff for the Army and received numerous awards. But during his 40 years of service, he admitted that while he was prepared for injuries like the “loss of limbs and nasty injuries,” he became all too aware of the invisible injuries — “traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.”

Unlike a heart attack or a stroke that can be detected through bloodwork and physical examination, the injuries to the mind are stealth.

According to Peter, “By 2012, the rate of post-traumatic stress was 65%.” The 2014 Defense Department Suicide Event Report revealed that “the U.S. Army [was] having the highest suicide rate among the services at 23.8% per 100,000 soldiers.”

This concern for those suffering from these “invisible wounds” led Peter to take on a new mission following his retirement from the Army in 2012. He became CEO of One Mind, “a nonprofit dedicated to speeding up research and finding better diagnosis and treatment for brain-injured soldiers and civilians.”

According to One Mind, PTS occurs in 11-20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In addition to the challenge and stigma of PTS, the returning vets often become victims of homelessness due to their mental conditions. Like Peter and One Mind, North Texas’ Housing Crisis Center recognizes that vets suffering from post-traumatic stress need support. For this reason, HCC has developed the Programs Serving Primarily Veterans that include:

  • Veterans Housing Partnership — providing permanent supportive housing with intensive case management for homeless, disabled veterans and their families.
  • Permanent Housing Services — providing permanent supportive housing with intensive case management for chronically homeless disabled adults, primarily veterans.
  • All Citizens Empowered — a permanent supportive housing program for families and individuals in which heads-of-the-household has a disabling mental condition. Half of the clients in the program are veterans.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

On the evening of Friday, November 3, Peter will join forces with Housing Crisis Center for the 2017 Patriot Party – Colors Of Courage at the George W. Bush Institute to benefit the Housing Crisis Center.

Dennis and Laura Moon (File photo)

Joining Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon will be Honorary Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker and a host committee made up of Stacy and Jeff Blakeley, Holly Bock, Jennifer and Scott Chandler, Alesia Coffman Turner, Ashley and Danny Ellis, Megan Flanagan, Nancy Gopez, Cathy Hodges, Catherine Howell, Laura and Brent Jorgenson, April and Russ Lambert, Kelly and John Ledford, Lynn and Allan McBee, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Sandy Schwan, Heidi and Cole Snadon, Sunie and Steve Solomon, Cindy Stager, Leisa Street, Jimmy Westcott and Katherine Wynne.

Tickets start at $250 and are available here for the evening of cocktails, buffet dinner, live entertainment and Peter, of course.

* Graphic and photo provided by Housing Crisis Center