Operation Warrior Wellness benefit concert to fight PTSD

An organization is setting out to heal our heroes.

On May 1, Operation Warrior Wellness, an initiative formed to help veterans and first responders who are suffering with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) through Transcendental Meditation (TM), will be hosting a benefit concert and dinner at Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar & Cabaret. The evening is designed to raise both funds and awareness for the illness and TM education.

“Operation Warrior Wellness started because I wanted to let the local communities know the work that we’re doing with veterans and first responder,” said Co-Chair of Operations Ed Schloeman.

Schloeman, a Marine Vietnam veteran who also spent 22 years with the New York Air National Guard, was inspired to start the effort after becoming aware of the emotional pain that many veterans experienced after their tour of duty.

Schloeman and World War II veteran and former P-51 pilot Captain Jerry Yellin, met in 2010 on Iwo Jima while attending the 65th anniversary of the historical Marine battle

“We had so much in common and over the following few months we became close pen pals,” said Schloeman, who retired in 1995 as a chief master sergeant. “Jerry and I wanted to do something about what was becoming an epidemic within our active duty and veteran community, suicide.”

Schloeman pointed out the statistics in 2010 as part of his motivation to lobby for change, such as 1,000 veterans having attempted suicide and 22 of them dying from it each day. “Thirty percent of all those who served in Iraq/Afghanistan suffer from PTS, a leading cause to this epidemic,” he said.

He also stressed the impact the local community can have in helping the troops. “If everyone in each of the boroughs would give just one dollar, our program would be funded for the whole year,” Schloeman said. “We want to get the community’s involvement and support those that had the courage to put on uniform every day. Successful people and businesses need to give thanks to those who are suffering from PTS. Everybody can give something though.”

According the Schloeman and Yellin, TM has the potential to play a vital role in the recovery of PTS victims. “Captain Yellin suffered from PTS for over 30 years until he was introduced to the simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced twice a day for 20 minutes,” said Schloeman. “The results have been outstanding.”

The two continue to spread the word. “Today, we are in every military organization, veteran organizations, some VA centers, and the oldest military college, Norwich University, where TM is part of the curriculum,” noted Schloeman.

The event will help the therapeutic method become more accessible. “The money raised goes to allow free training in meditation to veterans and first responders,” Schloeman said. “We already have trained numerous veterans and first responders.”

Frank Siller, chairperson of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, will be honored during the evening. “He has done so much for local community,” said Schloeman. Daniel Rodriguez, America’s Tenor, is also an honoree.

The night will also feature a performance by recording artist Giada Valenti , along with appearances by Commissioner of the New York Fire Department Salvatore Cassano and TV and radio host Jim Masters, who will also be the master of ceremonies for the evening.

Tickets start at $125. Lorenzo’s Restaurant is located at 1110 South Avenue in Staten Island. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/emailing/2014_03_concert.html or email Schloeman at eschloeman@aol.com.

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