LAKE FOREST, CA – Infinite Hero Foundation (IHF) today announced that eight organizations will receive charitable grants in furtherance of the Foundation’s goal to address the most critical mental and physical challenges facing our returning military veterans. This is the second annual delivery of grants from IHF to like-minded organizations. Since its inception in 2011, IHF has issued grants totaling nearly $1.3 million.
“Infinite Hero was founded to drive innovation, accessibility and collaboration among organizations combating the most critical issues facing the returning military community,” said Infinite Hero Foundation President, Colin Baden. “On this Veterans Day, we celebrate our shared progress and commit to continuing to map a plan for driving change and long-term solutions to improve the lives of veterans across America.”
One of this year’s grant recipients is Airpower Foundation. With a $100,000 grant from IHF, Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Ret.) Gary Linfoot will be the first military veteran to receive an Ekso suit for personal use. Ekso is a bionic exoskeleton that enables individuals with paralysis to stand and walk again. Ekso hosts invaluable potential psychological and physical benefits and Linfoot’s use of the technology will help provide critical data and awareness necessary to expand the availability of the technology beyond its current reach, primarily in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
Linfoot served as a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), home to the Army’s best-qualified aviators and support soldiers. In June 2008, during his 19th combat tour in Iraq, Linfoot’s helicopter suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed. Instantly paralyzed below the waist, Linfoot had permanently lost his motor abilities, yet returned to duty just three months later and culminated his career as the Officer in Charge of the Special Operations Aquatic Training Facility.
Linfoot will demonstrate the exoskeleton at a Veterans Day ceremony in New York at the Statue of Liberty. Joined by his wife Mari Linfoot, fellow veterans, and partners in the fight against the critical issues facing military heroes including IHF, Ekso Bionics, the National Park Service and the Airpower Foundation, Linfoot will discuss the ongoing need for innovation, accessibility and collaboration to provide effective programs for rehabilitation and recovery from mental and physical injuries.
“It is among the greatest honors of my life to receive the first Ekso device,” said Gary Linfoot. “To have the chance to walk again, to see my wife Mari eye-to-eye, and hug my children heart-to-heart is a feeling I cannot begin to explain. I’m thrilled to act as an ambassador to help expand this use of this technology in the hopes to one day grant the same life-changing experience to other wounded veterans.”
In addition to the Airpower Foundation, the 2013 IHF grantees include:
- The Armed Forces Foundation’s School Counseling Program, which utilizes support, prevention and intervention strategies to support the children of military personnel and their families with a focus on stress, trauma and PTSD-related issues. Specifically, this support includes a combination of individual and small group counseling, classroom guidance, parent conferences and academic support services to improve their well-being and academic performance.
- Heartbeat – Serving Wounded Warriors, receiving a grant for its Scuba Warriors program, which provides critical physical and mental health healing to members of the military community through underwater diving. The liberation of therapeutic scuba diving is, for many military heroes, the first movement without pain, contributing greatly to increased confidence in physical abilities, as well as increased muscle strength, cardiovascular improvements and decreased migraine symptoms.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will apply its grant to continue upgrades to its Community of Veterans (COV) digital platform. COV is the first online social network created exclusively for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. COV 2.0 will pull together all of IAVA’s digital properties into a unified, cohesive online experience, allowing COV users to connect to other IAVA mental health support and services that can significantly improve their life outcomes.
- The Semper Fi Fund, providing Alpha-Stims and Irlen Lenses to service members suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and chronic pain. The Alpha-Stim medical device is a non-addicting, holistic treatment using cranial electrotherapy stimulation to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, depression and chronic pain. Irlen Spectral Filters use color to treat TBI and injuries to the eye by calming the brain and helping it process visual information.
- The USC Institute for Creative Technologies will apply its Infinite Hero grant to a pilot study of the impact of Stress Resilience in Virtual Environments (STRIVE). By providing an engaging psychological fitness training option, the Center hopes to build resilience in pre-deployed service members that may decrease the incidence of PTSD and other conditions.
- Vail Veterans Program (VVP), which provides exceptional outdoor, rehabilitative experiences for wounded warriors, their families and support staff of military hospitals that build confidence and create meaningful, life-long relationships. The grant supporting VVP’s 2014 Winter Program Events will help to dramatically decrease the isolating effects of physical and invisible injuries by bringing together peers and enabling them to focus not on the disability, but abilities after surviving combat and severe injuries.
- Rebuilding America’s Warriors (R.A.W.), an organization dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery to wounded and disfigured Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Recognizing that disfiguring wounds can interfere with the veterans ability to seek social encounters and re-enter his or her pre-war life, the R.A.W. foundation covers transportation, hotel, food, surgical costs, medical supplies, hospitalization, anesthesia, medications and after care to help give veterans and active military soldiers the confidence to seek their ultimate dreams.
Infinite Hero Foundation depends on the public support of individuals that are equally committed to combating the issues facing our military heroes and their families. Supporters can make a donation at www.infinitehero.org or follow Infinite Hero on Facebook.
About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues – mental and physical – facing returning military heroes and their families. The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries. For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org