Operation Warrior Welness is a saving grace

Heroes from all walks of life gathered for a luncheon at Vicolo Restaurant on Wednesday, September 18 to spread the word about a program that is saving the lives of soldiers and first responders: Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW).

Spearheaded by Marine Vietnam veteran Ed Schloeman and funded by the David Lynch Foundation, OWW aims to relieve post-traumatic stress in veterans, active military members and first responders by using a method known as Transcendental Meditation (TM).

“We are here to help cure the hidden wounds of war,” Schloeman said to a packed room. “Members of the Fire Department, Police Department and first responders…when they put on that uniform, they go into the combat zone. There is no difference between a soldier and a first responder. We have to protect them.”

Schloeman said that OWW has enough funding to train 1,000 vets and first responders in Brooklyn and is teaming up with other sponsors both to raise awareness and to spread the word. One of those sponsors that signed up is Rapid Realty, and founder and CEO Anthony Lolli was at the event to express his support.

Lolli said that father was a World War II vet and probably suffered from post-traumatic stress.

“It didn’t have a title back then, but now it does,” he said of the condition, calling it, “The stress that is caused is not only to individuals but to families.

“We wanted a launching pad to bring awareness and put Brooklyn on the map,” Lolli went on. “We are standing so close to Fort Hamilton and it’s important that we support our military veterans young and old.”

During the luncheon, a video was shown of veterans talking about how TM changed their life.

Robert Roth, vice president of the David Lynch Foundation, said that he has been doing TM for 45 years. He said that he understands that most people think that meditation is about religion or “something weird,” but that this stigma should not be.

“To do this technique, you don’t have to believe anything. It’s a human being skill that everyone can do as well as someone else. No one can do it better or worse than you,” Roth explained. “It allows the nervous system to take profound rest at will, deeper than sleep. Every one of us, whether we think it’s bunk or not, has that level of quiet. It has been used by warriors for years.”

Roth has not only worked with the military using TM, but has also helped members of the Miami Heat professional basketball team and those on Wall Street. He contends that it gives those who work in extremely high-stress, often life-or-death situations, an ability to remain cool and think clearly amidst the panic

“We can no longer ignore the devastating effects of stress,” Roth contended.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, State Senator Eric Adams and Fran Vella-Marrone, representing Congressmember Michael Grimm, also attended the luncheon, expressing their support for OWW.

Schloeman said that he is planning a benefit for OWW on December 3 in Manhattan, featuring celebs including Barbara Walters, David Lynch and Jerry Seinfeld, and honoring Fire Department Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.

For more information about OWW, visit www.OperationWarriorWellness.org.

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