The daughter of a fallen Green Beret, Naz Montrond, 22, Wesley Chapel, Florida, is not a typical college student. Not only is she in school full-time and working at Junior Achievement in Tampa, but she is also the sole guardian of her siblings, ages 18, 14, and 11. Naz was just six years old when her father Sgt. Alberto Montrond, 7th Special Forces Group, was killed in Afghanistan. The Gold Star family was dealt yet another devastating blow when Naz’s mother Christl died in March 2021 after a lengthy illness.
Among Naz’s most pressing problems following her mother’s death was figuring out who could take care of her youngest brother Bentley, then 9, before school each morning. The local elementary schools do not begin class until 9:15 a.m., but the rest of the family must be out the door earlier. “Our mom had just passed. I was so lost. I had no idea where the funds were going to come in to pay for me having Bentley in ‘before school care,’ which is expensive,” Naz says. “The mortgage broker where I worked at the time was very strict and told me ‘you have to be here on time or you will not have this job.’ Operation Healing Forces saved me!”
Thanks to Operation Healing Forces’ Immediate Needs Program, Naz was able to cover the cost of enrolling her brother in the “before school care” program and could continue to work and attend school without worrying about her brother being home alone. She looks forward to graduating with a degree in Health Sciences from the University of South Florida in 2023. “At OHF, we care about all of our special operations forces and their families — especially if the service member is fallen. Even after death, we want them to know we have their back,” says Jeff Hudson, Executive Director of Operation Healing Forces. “We believe there is no greater act than to take care of our wounded, ill, injured, and the families of our fallen special operators, who gave all of their tomorrows so that we could have our todays. The least we can do is provide the critical support Gold Star families like the Montrond family needs so they know they aren’t alone as they build toward a brighter future.”
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.