Manage episode 347681156 series 2798026
SGT. BRETT D’ALESSANDRO RETURNED HOME FROM A SEVEN-MONTH DEPLOYMENT IN AFGHANISTAN TO WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS THE END OF A LONG ROAD, AND HE QUICKLY LEARNED THAT AN EVEN LONGER ROAD FILLED WITH STRUGGLE AND CONFUSION LAY AHEAD.
After a challenging deployment, Brett came home and was thrown into the process of reintegrating into civilian Life. He struggled to figure out his next steps - going back to school, finding a job, or continuing with his military career. During this time, Brett was also struggling with his health - mentally and physically. His spouse, Alexa, was by his side but felt unequipped and uneducated in how to best support him through this transition. It was a chance encounter with a homeless veteran on the streets of Rhode Island that turned Brett and Alexa’s entire situation around…
While on his way to a doctor’s appointment at the Newport Naval Base in Rhode Island, Brett was driving when he saw a homeless veteran on the side of the road. That day, Brett distributed his backpack from deployment to this veteran filled with socks and warming layers. From this simple act…Backpacks For Life was born. Something resonated with Brett. It wasn’t just him or those he was deployed with or this man on the side of the road…it was MANY veterans nationwide who had to deal with the trauma of coming home and not knowing where to turn. Brett took this moment as a sign to do more and be more for his fellow servicemen and women.
Since 2014, BFL has been dedicated to serving homeless and at-risk veterans through backpack distribution and a mentorship program. The BFL team works one-on-one with veterans to help them find the right supportive services for their situation. The process is aided by countless hours of personal interaction and the physical distribution of backpacks. Backpacks represent the first line of defense, a symbol of hope, and so much more to the team at Backpacks For Life.
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