Founder's Blog - Being Thankful

By Dot Sheehan

Hello again. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and spent with family and friends. Not everyone could be home for this holiday especially those who are serving our country in places far and wide.

Operation Hat Trick’s mission is to raise awareness and support for the recovery of wounded service members and veterans through the sale of OHT branded merchandise,proceeds of which are donated to select organizations that support the OHT mission. At this time of year especially,it is a time to give thanks for our freedom and to thank those who fight for it on our behalf every day.

This was never more true than when a group of OHT supporters visited the National Medial Military Medical Center (Walter Reed) for the first time. At that time Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Washington,DC and Bethesda,MD were separate facilities. (They have since been combined and are located in Bethesda).

There we visited wounded service members and delivered OHT hats from our participating schools. We saw “kids”,most between 19-25,dealing with unthinkable injuries,injuries that would take a lifetime from which to recover,if ever.

But the 25 year old father of two was the one who sent me in the hall in tears that day. You see he had a 5 year old and a 5 month old. He had been badly burned ,was a triple amputee and had schrapnel in his face He was severely depressed as you can imagine and his wife told us how she was bathing the 5 month old in the sink of their two room dorm room in the hospital’s facility and was caring for this baby and the 5 year old all the while being by her husband’s side. The care they were receiving was wonderful-compassionate staff who were tough when they needed to be and caring when they needed to be. Oh how impressed were we with what we saw that day in the workout room-MATC-where 60 amputees (from 1 to 4 amputations) were working hard to recover.

When I handed this man an OHT hat he started to cry and said,”You have almost made me feel normal again today,Ma’am and maybe just maybe my 5 year old won’t be afraid of me when he comes to visit today?”

It was then that I fully understood the power of a hat and that OHT had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who are recovering. We had the power to fill some gaps in care-we just knew that all of these in the workout room were going to need things that benefits or other organizations did not cover.

We knew we had to be thankful for what these men and women were doing to continue to fight for our freedom and we knew OHT could help make a difference one veteran at a time.

So this Thanksgiving let’s remember those who continue to recover from visible and invisible injuries. Help us help them by buying an OHT hat and other merchandise or make a donation at Remember that Tuesday Nov 29th is Giving Tuesday and that no donation is too small.

I’ll be back soon with more stories and more about how OHT continues to make a difference.