Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

We at HHN want to thank you all for your support for us, and more important, for our Service Men and Women. With this year coming to an end and the next starting up, we are thankful for all the veterans we've been able to help and look forward to those we'll meet in the coming year.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy 375th Birthday National Guard!

December 13th, 2011, marks the 375th Birthday of the US National Guard. The motto "Always Ready, Always There" couldn't be more fitting when you know the history of our National Guard. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Date that Lives in Infamy: 70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the tragic attacks on Pearl Harbor leading to America's entry into WWII.

December 7, 1941, a Date Which will Live in Infamy

As President Franklin Roosevelt so stated, it was a "date that lives in infamy." America will never forget this reminder that we can not stand idly by as world war breaks out. We must remember all of the innocent people who lost their lives in WWII and those brave men in our military who went off to defend freedom.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Original American Patriots

Everyone's heard of Thanksgiving. Pilgrims & Indians, turkey, yada-yada. While the holiday stands as a wonderful sentiment, a day to give thanks to everything we have, there's another holiday that has all but been forgotten. November 25th was the holiday Evacuation Day, a day for America's original patriots.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Google for Veterans: a Review of Google's New Resource for Vets and Their Families

As Veterans Day passes, Google noted it as is does with most holidays: with one of its "doodles." But, in the coming weeks and days, it'll go a little further than just a passing reference to our veterans. Google is launching Google for Veterans, a resource for veterans and their families to use to adjust to military life and then back again to the civilian sphere.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Veterans Day is a holiday that goes all the way back to WWI. The Great War ended "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month," the holiday was created to remember the cost of war and need of peace. Originally called Armistice Day, it was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to include those who fought in all wars. Celebrated throughout the world as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, this is a day to thank all who fought and to appreciate the sacrifice our warriors must make to protect us.

As time progresses, it is easy to forget our roots and to just accept wartime feelings. But we must always remember and respect the courage it takes to fight for your country. Many of us have family, friends, and other loved ones who have or still do serve in the US Military. While we might not always agree with wars going on or the politics behind certain things, we must always support our troops. They don't fight for Obama or Bush or anyone else in the government. They fight for you. They fight for America.

Please take one moment today to think about the hardships and bravery of our military. If you have the opportunity, thank a member of the armed forces for their service. Donate or volunteer for a veterans' organization. Show you still care about  and support them after all this time.

Bless America and Bless our Veterans!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Founding Director Recognized For 'Selfless Act'

Many of you may already know the origin story of Healing Heroes Network. Dr. Allan Spiegel was a neurologist who would often see veterans coming to him as patients with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Witnessing these brave men and women returning from war, sometimes grievously wounded, he knew it was his duty as a patriotic citizen to do what he could for them. As a neurologist with a specialty in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), Dr. Spiegel was in a unique position to help these people with TBIs utilize his equipment and knowledge to try to return to the quality of life they had enjoyed before going to war. And Dr. Spiegel did this all free of cost.

Dr. Allan Spiegel receives the "Commandant's Award for Excellence"
from National Commandant of the MCL, Vic Voltaggio.
From this idea to provide medical treatments free to military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Healing Heroes Network was born. It is a lofty goal, to provide financial assistance for the wounded warriors returning from tours after September 11, 2001, but Dr. Spiegel and the Healing Heroes Network are dedicated to the task. Recently, Dr. Spiegel was commended for this valiant effort by the Commandant of the Marine Corps League (MCL).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1st National Day of the Deployed

Today marks the 1st National "Day of the Deployed." The day is one of awareness of military personnel deployed in our current wars. Some locations are having events for this day, but since this is the 1st National celebration of it, few people know of its existence.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Car Accidents Leading Cause of Death for Veterans Recently Returned Home

Think you know the leading cause of death for military personnel in their first year home from the war? You might be surprised.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Silvio's Brazilian BBQ Supports HHN

Silvio's Brazilian BBQ booth supporting
 Healing Heroes Network
Healing Heroes Network was the official charity of Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ for the “The Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair” in California. There were over 45,000 attendees from Oct. 1st to Oct. 2nd. Silvio's raised awareness and over $1000 for HHN! Thank you Silvio's Brazilian BBQ for supporting HHN and our Heroes!

If you are interested in supporting Healing Heroes Network or putting on a fundraiser, please contact, and make sure to say where you heard of us. Healing Heroes is a nationwide charity, so no matter what state you're in, HHN and our Veterans are happy to take your help!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apps to Help Vets with PTSD: a Review of PTSD Coach

At HHN, I am definitely the technology nerd. I love learning about new software, using social media, following online trends, the works. So, when I heard that the VA helped develop an app for those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I was very excited to see what it had to offer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Start: Sgt. Jonathan Maura

Saying want to help veterans is one thing, but it means nothing without backing it up with action. Healing Heroes Network knows this and works hard to provide financial assistance and to connect our Heroes with Providers. After fighting for our country and sacrificing so much, we need to do what we can to ensure our troops have the resources to live a quality life. 

Sgt. Jonathan Maura in what he describes as his "lil' hole."
Which is why we're happy to help people like Sgt. Jonathan Maura. Jonathan had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was having difficulties finding treatment. Jonathan was adamant about finding a non-medicinal means to help his condition. So he turned to Healing Heroes Network.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

South Tampa Chamber Military Honoree of the Month: TSgt. Terry Willis, Jr.

Honoree TSgt. Terry J. Willis, Jr. (right) after being presented
his awards with Col. David Pavey (left) and Healing Heroes
team  member, Denise Greno (middle).
Yesterday, Healing Heroes Team Member, Denise Greno, went to the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce's event to honor TSgt. Terry Willis, Jr. Willis was named South Tampa's Military Honoree of the Month for his outstanding service to his country and his community.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

OPINION: Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a Big Step for America

Today marks a monumental step in equality based on sexual orientation. The 17-year-old law prohibiting homosexuals from openly serving in our military forces, more commonly known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is going out the window. But does it mean that gays and lesbians will come out of the closet? And even if they want to, should they?

Bike Night at Quaker Steak & Lube

Quaker Steak & Lube was a night filled with bikes, wings, fun, and fundraising for the Healing Heroes Network team! We gathered at the restaurant dubbed "best wings USA" to promote our latest fundraiser 'Harleys for Heroes.' The weather was the epitome of Florida's beauty, and it showed by the size of the crowd. The place was packed! By 7pm all kinds of motorcycles and their riders came for the good music, weather, food, and drink.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Busy as Bees at HHN

Last week was a very busy week for us. On Wednesday HHN went to Quaker Steak & Lube to show off the two motorcycles we're giving away during our "Harleys for Heroes" Sweepstakes. And on Friday, two of our team members at HHN went to a Charity Fair in Tampa while the rest of our team went to our 1st Annual Golf Tournament at Westchase Golf Club.

All of the events were very successful. We met a lot of great people, helped spread the word of Healing Heroes Network, and hopefully got some people to consider how they personally can help wounded veterans.

We'll have a few articles posted here soon about each event, so look forward to those. If you want to know about any upcoming events for Healing Heroes Network, go to our events pages at our website or the event page on this blog.

Friday, September 16, 2011

HHN Remembers 9/11: Bookkeeper, Rosie

Rosie recalls when she first heard about the terrorist attacks and the one thing she couldn't get off her mind: family.

These videos are part of the "HHN Remembers 9/11" series. Please send us your stories and videos to help us honor those who died in the attacks and the wars that followed. You can email them to, put them in the comments on this blog, or post them on our Facebook wall.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

HHN Remembers 9/11: Administrative Assistant, Sarah

Sarah remembers being in school when 9/11 happened and the chaos and emotions that followed.

These videos are part of the "HHN Remembers 9/11" series. Please send us your stories and videos to help us honor those who died in the attacks and the wars that followed. You can email them to, put them in the comments on this blog, or post them on our Facebook wall.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

HHN Remembers 9/11: Administrative Assistant, Brittany

Brittany shares her story of experiencing 9/11 as a child.

These videos are part of the "HHN Remembers 9/11" series. Please send us your stories and videos to help us honor those who died in the attacks and the wars that followed. You can email them to, put them in the comments on this blog, or post them on our Facebook wall.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HHN Remembers 9/11: Community Outreach Manager, Denise

Denise reads us a poem about the terrorist attacks and her message to the victims and soldiers who fight today for America.

These videos are part of the "HHN Remembers 9/11" series. Please send us your stories and videos to help us honor those who died in the attacks and the wars that followed. You can email them to, put them in the comments on this blog, or post them on our Facebook wall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

HHN Remembers 9/11: Development Manager, Sarah

Continuing our week of remembering 9/11, Sarah, our development manager, talks about how she experienced the tragedy of the terrorist attacks as a senior in high school.

These videos are part of the "HHN Remembers 9/11" series. Please send us your stories and videos to help us honor those who died in the attacks and the wars that followed. You can email them to, put them in the comments on this blog, or post them on our Facebook wall.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

HHN Remembers 9/11: Executive Director Stacey Spiegel

To start off our remembrance videos of September 11th, 2001, here is our message from Executive Director of Healing Heroes Network, Stacey Spiegel.

These videos are part of the "HHN Remembers 9/11" series. Please send us your stories and videos to help us honor those who died in the attacks and the wars that followed. You can email them to, put them in the comments on this blog, or post them on our Facebook wall.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Suicide Prevention Week

If you haven't already heard, this week is Suicide Prevention Week. While soldiers may return home alive, many of them experience depression or PTSD. And unfortunately, too many will go on to attempt suicide.

We Remember

Almost ten years ago our nation was shaken hard, but it did not fall. In remembrance of all the men and women who lost their lives in the tragic attacks of 9/11 and the wars that followed, HHN will be making videos of how we experienced that day, how it changed us, and what we hope for the future.

We'll post these videos during the week of 9/11, starting Sunday through Friday. Feel free to make your own videos and post them on our Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and tag them #WeRemember911.

It is our duty as survivors to make sure we honor the victims of 9/11 by becoming a stronger, better nation while.

We remember 9/11, and we'll never forget.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day is a time of friends, food, and fun. But while you're all out having a good time, don't forget that safety is always an issue. It is estimated that an average of 400 people die in traffic-related instances alone during Labor Day weekend. And that's not to mention boating, grilling, and alcohol-related deaths.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

After a Long Hiatus from Blogger...

Sorry about the long break between postings. Five months is a quite a while, but we've done a lot during that time. A lot of fundraisers, new Heroes and Providers have been added to our network, and a couple new hires to help our growing nonprofit.

To hear the recent stuff we've been up to, we'll be putting out our Autumn edition newsletter in late September, so look out for that coming up. In the meantime, we'll post teasers to our articles, news about HHN, and news of interest for our veterans, their families, medical providers, and just the average Joe who is interested in military news.

Glad to be back and hope to be posting again soon!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Hero Among Us

Just a few days away from leave, Sgt. Joel Tavera volunteered to take another soldier's duty shift. He soon learned that his life was about to take an abrupt turn.

On March 12, 2008, inside the Tallil air base in southeastern Iraq, Sgt. Tavera's armored SUV was hit by an enemy missile, killing three soldiers. Joel was one of two who survived the blast, but we was burned, blinded and bleeding.

"The last thing I saw was a flash of blue sky, and that was it," recalls Joel.

The force from the rockets and explosives also fractured Joel’s skull, and he spent the next three months in a coma. When he finally came to, the pain from his burns, which cover 60% of his body, was so intense that he needed heavy medication for nearly a year.

He gained a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, but lost sight in both his eyes. He also lost four fingers, and his right leg below the knee; but he didn’t lose his will to live; far from it.

For the past two years, Joel has spent his time relearning the basics. He said many people thought he would never walk again, and for the majority of time since the accident, he was confined to a wheelchair. Amazingly though, this hardworking young man has beaten all the odds, and not only walks, but recently finished a 5k walk in an hour and 13 minutes!

“It felt really good to finish!” said Joel, “And I’ve got another 5k planned in two weeks!”

What’s the rush? Joel has a surgery coming up that will replace a piece of his skull, and will likely keep him from doing much of anything, let alone walking three miles. So, he’s taking in as much life as he can, before he has to cut back.

When asked if he ever gets angry, Joel admits that he does, but says it’s not the way he chooses to live his life.

“My mentor, who is a blind Captain in the military, always told me that there’s no way I can change things,” recalled Joel, “He said I can either be depressed and die in my sorrows, or live life and help others.”

So, that’s exactly what he does. Still active duty, Joel’s new job is not only to get better, but to give back to others. He says his injuries have opened up a whole new world to him and he wants to share his story in the hopes of inspiring other people to keep trying.

The only thing that keeps this motivated soldier down is pain. That’s where HHN comes in. Joel receives weekly Acupuncture on his amputated leg from HHN provider William Lichter, DC; something that makes a huge difference in his life.

“The Acupuncture decreases the pain, and makes it so I don’t have to take as much pain killers,” said Joel, “I can’t imagine not having the treatments.”

With the help and support of talented providers like Dr. Lichter, we at HHN are happy that we can provide this true American Hero with a little relief. Especially when people said he should be satisfied with the miracle of survival, and that he would never walk again or function on his own. To their surprise, he did just that, and continues to have hope for his future.

“I want to get married and have a family and live on my own,” said Joel.

Read the entire newsletter and see what HHN has been up to and the Heroes we're helping!

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Like" it for TIME

Today is the day to let TIME know how much America values the Military Family by asking the magazine to name the Military Family it's 2011 TIME Person of the Year.

LIFT has penned a letter (pasted below). Tsetsei's goal is to "overwhelm TIME Magazine with letters from across the country. The letters will introduce the editors to the idea, and with luck, they’ll get so many of them it will attract media attention".

Please take a moment today. Print the letter below, sign it, and send it to TIME.

Mailing Address: TIME Magazine Letters / Time & Life Building / Rockefeller Center / New York, NY 10020

You can also find more info about the effort here


Dear TIME Magazine Editor(s),

I’m writing this letter to ask you to consider the military family as your 2011 TIME Person of the Year. If you accept nominations from the public/your readers, please consider this an official nomination.
Military families will be the first to say they don’t want to be honored or praised, but I understand Person of the Year isn’t an honor; it’s a “recognition of somebody’s effect on the world,” as Richard Stengel has said.

I also understand Person of the Year is, as another TIME editor has said, “given to the person, group, or thing that has most influenced the culture or the news during the past year.”

Evidence of the military family’s impact on recent news and popular culture can be found in the efforts of Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to raise awareness of the military family, in Oprah Winfrey’s multiple shows honoring the military family, in the upcoming fifth season of Lifetime network’s “Army Wives,” and in the E! Entertainment channel special, “E!Investigates: Military Wives.” Any time the wars in the Middle East are in the news, so is the American military family.

Regarding the military family’s effect on the world, Rudy Giuliani was chosen for Person of the Year following the September 11 attacks because he “embodied what was really most important, what we learned about ourselves, which was that we could recover,” explained a TIME editor.

The military family embodies what is most important after a decade of war and multiple deployments: a resilient and unifying force even as the families grow weary of being separated - sometimes permanently - year and year, those years apart filled with agonizing anxiety and uncertainty about the future of their families. That resiliency speaks volumes about who we are.

When the American Soldier was chosen for 2003 Person of the Year, it wasn’t for making the news. It was, according to TIME, “[f]or uncommon skills and service, for the choices each one of them has made and the ones still ahead, for the challenge of defending not only our freedoms but those barely stirring half a world away.”

According to a February 2009 study conducted by Boston University’s Sloan Work and Family Research Network, “43.2% of active duty forces have one or more children.” Without a military family care plan—siblings, grandparents, spouses, or others to care for those children—nearly half of our deployed forces would be rendered useless.

The challenges the families of service members experience don’t include the direct threat of mortar rounds and IEDs, but they do include the 24-hour awareness that mortar rounds or IEDs could kill the person they love – their parent, their child, their best friend – any minute of any day, as well as the unique task of trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for children who have a revolving parent and a home environment that is in a perpetual state of flux.

I hope you’ll give this nomination the serious consideration it warrants.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grandma Shares Her Top 10 Deployment Lessons Learned

It's often said that wisdom comes with age. Even still, our Hero veterans are often wiser beyond their years, as they face life and death situations in the field. But what about those left at home? When a loved one deploys, there's new meaning to the phrase "stay-at-home-mom" or "stay-at-home-dad". Hopefully you agree that we can all learn a thing or two from someone who's been there before. That said... we just love this post, and we hope that you do too!

Debbie Nichols - Top 10 Deployment Lessons Learned

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4 Reasons to Jump on the Military Saves Bandwagon

We at HHN love the opportunity to help our Heroes when they come home, but from time-to-time, we like to pass on useful articles that will help all the Hero families out there.

By Joseph Montanaro, USAA Certified Financial Planner® Practitioner

The 2011 Military Saves Campaign kicks off with Military Saves Week Feb. 20-27. Normally, I'm not big on keeping up with the Joneses or jumping on bandwagons, but in this case it's a no-brainer. Here's why:

You won't miss it and even a little adds up. The Thrift Savings Plan is a great way to systematically set aside money for retirement. Just start with 1 percent of your pay and bump it up with every pay raise and promotion and you're on the way to what could be hundreds of thousands of reasons to save. Are you in the savings game? If not, visit your personnel office and sign up now. If you are, visit myPay and kick off Military Saves Week by increasing your contribution.

Stress relief. If you've ever lived with a big "debt cloud" hanging over your head, you would know what I mean by stress. Can you wipe out this problem overnight? Probably not, however having a plan to get your financial house in order - one that doesn't involve burying your head in the sand - will start to give you control and allow you to shed the stress.

Curve balls. Even $25 per paycheck going into your new savings account will begin to prepare you for Murphy's arrival on your doorstep. And if you're fortunate enough to avoid life's surprises for a bit, you'll have a full-blown emergency fund.

To live your dreams. Whether it's a family vacation or that new set of wheels, most dreams come with a price tag - sometimes, a hefty price tag. Visualize that dream as you set up your new savings program.

The first step is the hardest. Visit and take The Saver Pledge: "I will help myself by saving money, reducing debt, and building wealth over time. I will help my family and my country by encouraging other Americans to Build Wealth, Not Debt."
Now that's a bandwagon worth riding on!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sometimes, Making it Home is Only Half the Battle

It’s a brand-new year, and for many injured veterans, it’s also the start of a brand-new struggle. Technology continues to change on a daily basis, and yet here we are in 2011, and the care our veterans receive hasn’t evolved to where it needs to be. In fact, according to the Veterans Health Administration, since May 2008:

• 892,848 Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans are eligible for VA healthcare
• 324,846 Iraq veterans have sought VA healthcare
• 41.1% of those veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD and/or a mental illness
• There is a backlog of over one million existing claims

Our Heroes deserve better than this. Ask most Americans, and they’ll tell you they whole-heartedly support the troops. Even still, many troops are fighting an entirely new battle here at home for the medical care that would help them heal. They come home needing certain treatments, only to find that those treatments are either not provided, there's limited access, or they require long waiting times before they can see a physician; and with more than one million backlogged cases, the problem is only getting worse.

The question remains though… in this day and age, why are we experiencing such a build up? Quite simply, the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a new generation of injured veterans. With medicine making remarkable advancements over the years, doctors are now mending wounds that would've once been deadly. While we've gotten very good at saving lives, we need to turn our focus on improving our Heroes' quality of life. Because of the advancements in medicine, today’s veterans are suffering from a myriad of injuries and ailments, but there are three injuries that stand out as the most common.

• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - Because of its prevalence, TBI has been called the "signature injury" of today's wars, and disrupts the function of the brain. It’s estimated that 320,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have experienced a TBI during deployment.
• Along with TBI, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is wreaking havoc on combat veterans. PTSD can disrupt a person's life and make it hard to continue with daily activities. As we saw with veterans returning from the Vietnam War, PTSD can lead to substance abuse, marital and employment problems, homelessness, and in drastic cases, suicide. It’s estimated that 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are suffering from PTSD. If we don't act now and treat these veterans, history is sure to repeat itself.
• Many veterans throughout history have experienced Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). It is a debilitating disorder that dates back to the American Civil War. Long after bullets are removed, or limbs are repaired, the pain remains strong, and in many cases, even more unbearable. Imagine living with a severe burning pain and extreme sensitivity to touch… that’s the reality for many injured veterans living with RSD.

While these are three most common injuries, we at HHN recognize that there are hundreds more injuries that need to be healed. These injuries, coupled with the knowledge that many injured veterans are still in need of care, is the motivation behind Healing Heroes Network, a 501 (c)3 charitable organization. With a nation-wide network of medical providers, HHN can get our Heroes the medical care they need today - not tomorrow. HHN is determined to help heal the whole veteran. That's why we offer treatments in all areas of medicine and rehabilitation. Our nation's Heroes should be able to return to their families and communities as healthy as they can be. They've earned at least this much.