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WS480: Sacrifice and Dedication: Serving Our Veterans with David Winters

On the show today we are joined by David Winters from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund! David oversees the fund, fund strategic planning, fund raising and program execution. He has been with the fund since the establishment in 2000, and became president in 2011.

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Since 2000, the fund has raised over 200 million dollars for families of military personnel lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and for several special projects serving wounded military personnel. David and his team cater to those men and women who have returned from army duty with brain injury, and they are in the process of creating ten centers around the country with specialized and dedicated care for this purpose. They have already built seven of these ten and are currently working on the eighth! This amazing work that is being done services those people who have given everything for their country and David and the organization deserve every bit of support they can get. Listen in to hear how you can aid this great cause!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • David’s work at the Intrepid Fallen Heroes fund and how they are helping traumatized veterans.
  • The plan for building centers around the country to cater to patients.
  • The treatment style and care plan at the Intrepid Spirit Centers.
  • Undiagnosed brain injury and the need for more care and treatment for the injured.
  • Hopes and plans for the future of the fund and its centers.

[bctt tweet=”Since the year 2000 DOD has diagnosed over 400,000 service members with some degree of traumatic brain injury. — @IntrepidHeroes” username=”whitney_sewell”]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

David Winters on LinkedIn

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

About David Winters

David A. Winters serves as President of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a leading national organization supporting the military community. Since 2000 the Fund has raised over $200 million for families of military personnel lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for several special projects serving wounded military personnel. Winters oversees the Fund’s strategic planning, fundraising and program execution. Winters has been with the Fund since its establishment in 2000 and became President in 2011. In 2011 the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund launched its current program: building a series of ten advanced treatment centers for military personnel suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury.

To date over $80 million has been raised for this effort, and seven of the ten centers have already been built and are open and operating, with another currently under construction. Winters also serves as Executive Vice President of the Intrepid Sea, Air Space Museum in New York City. Winters’ responsibilities aboard Intrepid include management of events, special projects, government and military relations, and administration of the annual festival programs including Fleet Week, Kids Week and free Fridays. Mr. Winters also serves as corporate secretary of the Museum. He joined the Intrepid Museum as a volunteer in 1992 and as an employee in 1993. Winters also serves as the Executive Vice President and Secretary of the Intrepid Relief Fund, which provides support to military personnel and families.

Winters’ responsibilities include administration of the Fund and directing fundraising efforts. Winters has worked with this effort since 1994. Winters served on the 1812 Advisory Group from 2010 through 2012, assisting with the Department of the Navy’s planning for the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations. Winters’ involvement in supporting America’s military community began in March 1991, when he helped establish a volunteer charitable effort called Operation Support, which in just three months raised over a quarter million dollars to benefit the families of American military personnel lost in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Winters holds a BA degree from Fordham University. Winters and his wife, Lucrecia, the Assistant Commissioner for budget and revenue for the New York City Police Department, reside in New York City.

Full Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:00] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication.

And now your host, Whitney Sewell.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:24.1] WS: This is your daily Real Estate Syndication show. I’m your host Whitney Sewell. Today, our guest is David Winters. Thanks for being on the show David.

[0:00:31.8] DW: Hi Whitney, thank you for having me.

[0:00:33.7] WS: No, I’m honored to have David on the show. And as a listener, you know obviously, we are focused on the real estate syndication business and we are focused on that business growing our brands, our business or we have a professional brand and we’re working with investors the way we should and we’re working with finding properties and buying properties all these things that we want to do, but you know, none of that would be possible if we didn’t have our military to protect us and if we didn’t have our veterans who are willing to sacrifice everything for our freedom.

I am honored to have David on the show today and want to tell you a little bit about who he is and why he’s with us today and because I want to introduce you to him and something that this big cause that he is part of that I hope you will consider partnering with and helping them.

I’m a veteran as well and so this is near and dear to me and to many ladies and guys that I went at war with and came back. Thankfully, I’m very thankful that I got to come back but you know, pretty much unharmed but not everybody gets to do that and David and this group where he’s helping so many.

A little about him, he serves as a president of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. A leading national organizations, supporting the military community.  He oversees the fund, fund strategic planning, fund raising and program execution has been with the fund since the establishment in 2000 became president, and 2011. Since 2000, the fund has raised over 200 million dollars for families of military personnel lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, for several special projects serving wounded military personnel.

David, you know, thank you again for your time and I’m so grateful for what you all are doing in helping all these servicemen and women, you know, who have risked everything to help protect us and our country. But unfortunately, you know, it comes at a big cost a lot of time and you all are stepping in there to help. Give us more information about what the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is and how we can help?

[0:02:37.6] DW: Thank you again and it’s nice to be with you, it’s nice to be with your viewers and listeners and thank you for your own service. You mentioned you’re a veteran, you were deployed and I appreciate that and our nation appreciates that and all the men and women who served. Thanks for the introduction and you gave a good background of our organization the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

As you said, we were established in 2000 and have done a number of projects over those years. Right now, we’re focused on supporting men and women of the armed forces who are suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. There are thousands upon thousands of service members here, probably some of your colleagues, who suffered these injuries.

As a matter of fact, since the year 2000 DOD has diagnosed over 400,000 service members with some degree of traumatic brain injury. Now, traumatic brain injury is it’s just what it sounds like, it’s traumatic injury to the brain but unlike other injuries, it’s not necessarily apparent that this injury might exist.

In other words, if you get injured in the army, break your arm or you get wounded in the leg, that creates a physical wound that you can see and doctors can treat and you can get, you know, a broken bone set, you know, a bullet wound treated and therapy and hopefully get back to where you were. These injuries to the brain are not always caused by a direct trauma.

Sometimes they’re often caused by an indirect trauma like a blast wave or a concussion that doesn’t leave a head wound that’s visible, that doesn’t leave bleeding or a bump on the head but your brain has been injured inside. If you don’t necessarily know that your brain is injured inside, you might not take any action and you have to live with, you find yourself living with this injury.

What that means is, brain injury, the brain is such a complex organ. You know, an injury to it can have all sorts of effects on your life. Some of the common aspects of traumatic brain injury are you start to lose focus, you start to lose concentration, you might have memory problems, you might have behavioral changes.

Those may not sound like a big deal but when you start facing those deals in your daily life, whether you’re serving in the military or even if you’re dealing with your family at home or working some other work, these symptoms can start to impact your life. Can you imagine trying to do your job or you don’t remember things you’re supposed to know? Trying to be a military leader perhaps if you’re losing your focus, you’re not able to concentrate, you’re forgetting the names of the men and women under your command for example.

These things can really have a substantial impact. If it’s not treated, traumatic brain injuries don’t cure themselves, they have to be treated. If they’re not treated, the symptoms can get worse and if they get worse, the results can be terrible, you can find yourself not being able to do your job and if you’re in the armed forces and you can no longer do your job, you might get discharged from the armed forces. Then what do you do?

Because if you can’t work in the armed forces, how are you going to work in a civilian job? You could have problems with families. This is severe. You know, if you get deployed, you know, one, two, three deployments, maybe only one, maybe three, whatever it is. And you have this injuries, you come home, you can have the same problems with your family. Either having with your work. I’ll give an example, a friend of mine, Steve Taylor, he’s retired now but was a Major in the marine core. Multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Suffered traumatic brain injury, didn’t realize it. Came back home, was having trouble at work, having trouble concentrating and leading marines and this man is a Major, he’s a leader of marines. Same problems at home, he started to act strange and forget things and yelling at his wife, that wasn’t his personality but he faced it.

Fortunately, he was able to get treatment in one of our centers, we’ll talk about in a second but without treatment, maybe he could have lost his family, maybe he would have been dishonorably discharged from the marine core. Who knows what could have happened and when you think about it and again, you understand, you serve — men and women in the armed forces, they volunteered.

They step forward to serve and if they get injured and it’s service, be it a bullet in the arm or traumatic brain injury, they deserve to be cared because they certainly don’t deserve to be discharged from the armed forces because they can’t work or have family problems or family collapse or even worse, you know, mental health problems. Just because they have this brain injury that they suffered in service.

I’m saying all this just to describe and it’s a huge challenge facing many thousands of service members. What we’re doing is we’re raising funds to build a series of treatment centers we call them Intrepid Spirit Centers and we’re building them at military hospitals around the country where these men and women who are suffering from traumatic brain injury and are serving the armed forces can go and get the treatment for these injuries.

[0:07:00.3] WS: Nice, you’re building centers and tell me, can you share a little bit of that plan of you know, how many centers or what that plan is over the next year or two years or however long that takes?

[0:07:00.3] DW: Absolutely, it’s a long project, we’re building 10 of these centers in total, so 10 intrepid sphere centers, each one cost 11, 12, 13 million dollars to build so it’s a pretty substantial project. But we’re very far down the road, we’ve already actually opened up seven of these centers. The first ones opened up in 2013, we opened up the most recent one last year, we’re going to open our eighth a little bit later this year. We’re well on the way and we have two more to go.

We have to raise the money for those final two, so we start to raise about 20 million dollars to get those final two built. The centers there that are open have been treating patients and these centers are really unique because they’re not just – built up those square building and the doctor sits here and the patient sits there and you know, these your structures that are specifically designed around a model of care just for treating traumatic brain injury.

These are only focused on treating traumatic brain injury, they’re not for any other types of injuries. The caregivers in these centers practice what’s called an inter-disciplinary model of care which is in short, just means all the physicians, all the clinicians, all the nurses who are involved in care are assigned to the Intrepid Spirit Center, that’s where they work every day. They don’t just go in there and do a round once a week, that’s where they work. The patients come in, these are outpatient clinics and the patients come in.

When they first come in, they meet all those caregivers together, be it the neurologist, a psychologist, the speech therapist, their art therapist. Maybe 15 or so medical disciplines involved in treating traumatic brain injury. Patient goes in, all the caregivers are there together, the patient explains what’s going on, they all ask the questions together, then they develop a treatment plan together for the patient and then they provide that care together, all under one roof at the Intrepid Spirit center.

That’s the interdisciplinary model of care and that amount of care has proven very effective in the centers that have we’ve opened and are operating now, over 90% of patients treated are able to continue their regular service in the armed forces once they’ve completed their treatment there. That’s what they want, they want to continue to serve. We want to get that percentage up but there’s you know, sometimes there are other physical injuries that are associated with that, that might not allow a person to continue to serve.

But even if they can’t serve, we want them to have a full and productive and enjoyable life. Even if you’re not able to serve in the armed forces anymore, we still want you to have a happy life. This care is in most cases, is able to provide that, that’s what these centers are all about.

[0:09:27.2] WS: No, that’s so incredible David. The listeners and myself, obviously, we’re used to talking and listening about investing in real estate and I was thinking about the value that we’re investing in here through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and what you all have done here and that it’s really already a proven model, you’ve already opened, what did you say, seven of these?

[0:09:46.3] DW: Correct.

[0:09:47.5] WS: You know, it’s not like this brand new thing that you all are doing and you can already show that 90% of these soldiers can go back to service and which is incredible, you know? What else do we need to know about the fund or about the centers themselves just so we can be more educated as we give?

[0:10:05.7] DW: Well, the centers as I said, we’re building them across the country there on the east coast, they’re on the west coast. Our next one we’re going to start is at Fort Carson, Colorado in the middle of the country. We really want to get in kind of the major areas where you know, major military bases where you know, the service men and women are deploying and returning. I just want to highlight, I know that before, this traumatic brain injury doesn’t get better on its own.

Even though think back to you know, back to when you were serving, you were deployed but you know, 2005 I think when we –

[0:10:33.3] WS: It was, ’05, yes.

[0:10:35.2] DW: Okay, 2005, 2006, 2007, especially in Iraq but also in Afghanistan, there was a high tempo of combat operations there and we, you know, back here at home, we were reading headlines every day about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, you know, not so much, the operational tempo was down but our service members are still deployed and even you can start with traumatic brain injury from state side service from training.

The military goes through – I’m sure you can tell me that goes pretty intense training and service members can get injured that way as well. The need is still there, although, 400,000 service members who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, maybe an equal number had traumatic brain injury but they never got diagnosed.

We need to help all these men and women, even if you know, there aren’t intensive combat operations involving thousands of troops right now, They’re still tens of thousands of service members who need this help. That’s why these centers are so important and are going to stay so important. The problem doesn’t go away, just because the combat goes out of the headlines.

This is needed. Again, the centers, they’re out there, their staffed by really dedicated men and women. Although, once we build the centers because we’re a nonprofit, we know how to build things. We know how to raise the funds, we know how to kind of get it done, but once we build the centers, we turn them over to the department of defense for operation. The personnel who work in the centers are you know, our department defense employees.

But I know a lot of them, I’ve met a lot of them, I go around to the centers and it’s just amazing, dedicated professionals, really, you know, without them, bringing this special model of care to the patients, they would just be building. Combination of the proper building, proper facility, built, you know, again, not just a square building, you’re probably something with government type buildings, these don’t look like government type buildings, these are beautiful structures.

They’re even designed to be comforting to the patient, they’re designed with some curving of the walls, muted colors, certain type of furniture, all that goes into our planning and goes on to the centers. All with the goal of making patients comfortable. A couple things about the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, again, you mentioned we’ve been around for almost 20 years, we provided over 200 million dollars of services to the military and veteran’s communities.

All that money has come from Americans donating to our organization. Even now, when you think about it, our nation’s been at war for what, 18 years now? A whole generation. Even after that long amount of time, Americans are still willing to reach into their pocket and give to organizations like ours, right? I think that says something really special about our nation and Americans, they don’t forget the men and women who served. We have two more centers to build, we have about 20 million dollars more to go and that’s a lot of money so we definitely need help. If I may, I wanted to encourage your viewers –

[0:13:11.9] WS: Yes.

[0:13:14.0] DW: To go to our website, www.fallenherosfund.org and you can learn more about us there and you can you know, donate. Please, I encourage everyone to do that and tell your friends. We’re a national organization but we’re fairly small organization, we’ve only have got seven employees, we don’t have a huge advertising budget. I wish we did but we don’t.

We very much appreciate opportunities like you are giving me today to help spread the word. Please, take a look on the website, take a look and if you want to help, you can and I’ll also note that our board of directors underwrites all of our administrative costs. Like salaries and paper and mailing and careers and all that. That means every dime that you as a donor give goes to building these centers, don’t take anything out for administrative cost because that’s under wraps, that’s special and not sure if any other organizations that do that, there may be a couple but there aren’t many. It allows your donation to go that much further.

[0:14:07.1] WS: Wow, David, I can’t thank you enough for your time and sharing and even more so the way you all are giving back to those service men and women who have risked everything to help protect our country and you know, as a veteran myself, you know, I don’t care how you feel about politics or what president you want in office, these people still volunteered to protect us, you know, have risked everything.

I hope the listeners will consider giving and helping support the fallenherosfund.org. I hope you’ll go there and I hope you will consider donating and helping these service men and women.

[0:14:39.1] DW: Whitney, again, thank you so much. I do appreciate the opportunity to be with you today and congratulations on the great work that you do and thank you also as I said for your own service in uniform.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[0:14:47.6] WS: Don’t go yet, thank you for listening to today’s episode. I would love it if you would go to iTunes right now and leave a rating and written review. I want to hear your feedback. It makes a big difference in getting the podcast out there. You can also go to the Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook so you can connect with me and we can also receive feedback and your questions there that you want me to answer on the show.

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[OUTRO]

[0:15:28.8] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to The Real Estate Syndication Show, brought to you by Life Bridge Capital. Life Bridge Capital works with investors nationwide to invest in real estate while also donating 50% of its profits to assist parents who are committing to adoption. Life Bridge Capital, making a difference one investor and one child at a time. Connect online at www.LifeBridgeCapital.com for free material and videos to further your success.

[END]

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