Five years ago, SSG Andrew May was unloading equipment from a pallet when a forklift brake malfunctioned, severely injuring his right leg. “It was definitely a freak accident. I had my back turned to it,” Andrew says, who was on deployment working in support personnel for Special Operations at the time. Although surgery saved his leg, Andrew’s unrelenting pain made life miserable. Nine surgeries later with no relief in sight, the frustrated father of two medically retired from active duty in November 2021, deciding it was time to have his leg amputated. Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, specializes in amputation and prosthetics for veterans, but the problem for Andrew was getting there.
Operation Healing Forces’ Immediate Needs Program jumped into action planning the logistics and covering Andrew and his family’s travel expenses. After Andrew’s surgery in February, he resided at the nonprofit Fisher House for veterans and began rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical’s Center for the Intrepid. Andrew’s wife Lauren returned home and began teaching the couple’s youngsters to keep stairways and other areas in the home free from obstacles that could trip Andrew like toys and shoes. Andrew, who returned home in May, says the surgery restored his quality of life. He looks forward to playing outside with his kids and taking his family camping again. “I feel so good. I’m able to have the energy to get up and pretty much spend the entire day with my family, which is great. My wife even said, ‘I can tell you’re happier. You’re not in pain.’”
Operation Healing Forces is a non-profit organization that serves the Special Operation Forces (SOF) Community. We recognize the decades of war-fighting and sacrifices SOF members made during the Global War on Terror and the toll it has taken on these service members and their families as well as the ongoing challenges and hardships they face as they continue to deploy all over the world. It is our mission to aid active-duty and recent-veteran wounded, ill, injured, and fallen SOF and their families by aiding in the process of mentally, physically, and emotionally healing these individuals so they may return to the fight or successfully transition into civilian life.
Operation Healing Forces serves a very elite and very worthy segment of our population. Our organization is dedicated to supporting the Special Operation Forces of the United States Department of Defense’s United States Special Operation Command (USSOCOM) located at MacDill, AFB. Typically referred to as “quiet professionals”, Special Operation Forces include Rangers, Green Berets, Night Stalkers, Delta Force, Navy SEALS, Air Force Special Tactics, and Marine Raiders. Unfortunately, SOF members claim the highest divorce, cancer, and suicide rates of all the military. OHF is dedicated to healing the visible and invisible wounds and hardships this community faces. OHF is committed to focusing on the SOF communities’ well- being by restoring families and providing the resources and tools necessary for SOF members to reclaim happy, productive, and fulfilling lives.
OHF aids SOF and SOF family members in healing their wounds by “Creating Bonds that Cure”. OHF reconnects families through our therapeutic couple retreats that strengthen and restore relationships that have experienced long periods of separation and multiple war-time deployments. We also provide respite and promote the importance of self-care through our Caregiver and Gold Star Family Retreats. Lastly, OHF provides necessary and life-changing resources to provide for the immediate physical, financial, and emotional need SOF members and SOF family members may require.