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"Having recently retired from my role as the senior Mental Health policy lead for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical system, I can say with certainty that our most daunting challenge is that 14 of the 20 Veterans who die by suicide on an average day are not under VA mental health care.  This is what makes Operation Initiative so valuable.  Lou Falco and his team connect with Veterans at the community level through formal and informal networks that are often beyond VA’s reach.  They engage Veterans who may not frame their situation in mental health terms and whose first priorities are finding a job, strengthening their relationships, getting help in sitting with their own feelings and knowing that they have options moving forward.  Our nation needs Operation Initiative as a means to engage Veterans who may not even know that help is out there.  I only wish that every community was offering the in-reach, connection and support that Veterans can find through Operation Initiative!"

Harold Kudler, M.D. 
Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Duke University
Formerly Chief Consultant for Mental Health

Veterans Health Administration


"My name is Craig Mcnabb and I was in the military for 12 years as a military police officer in the Army National Guard. My rank was SGT. I was activated to the world trade centers when they came down and I was there for 4 months working in the pit and doing security. In March of 2003 we were deployed to Iraq to April of 2004. I was not the same person when I came home as I was before I left. My PTSD was out of control, and I was suffering from nightmares, road rage, having constant visions of all the death I've seen and the things I had to do that will never leave my mind. I now have to live with everyday.

During my career as a law enforcement officer with the Suffolk County's Sheriffs Office which now I am retired was also a battle for me. I met Lou Falco who is the founder and president of Operation - Initiative program at a car show and we got talking about his program; his main goal is to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One day Lou and his sister came over to my house and taught me ways to control my PTSD and to also regain my family life which I started pulling away from after I felt that there is hope for me and I felt closer to my wife and kids. This was just one meeting. His program has a unique way of dealing with the battles of war we face when we get back to our families. To this day he has developed new ways for us to overcome our demons. It's hard for me to explain his therapy for I have never seen anything like this before. It works for I was in a really bad place. I'm not fully healed but I'm in a better place, and I still continue to be part of his program. Thank you Lou for all you have done for me. BattleBuddies for life."

- Craig McNabb