Yellowstone Adventure Provides Camaraderie, Healing for Veterans & First Responders

Yellowstone Adventure Provides Camaraderie, Healing for Veterans & First Responders

Sheep Dogs Arrive at Yellowstone for Camaraderie & Snowmobiling Wednesday, January 29, was a beautiful day at the Bozeman, Montana, airport as Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) welcomed more than 35 veterans and first responders to town for a weekend of camaraderie and snowmobiling in West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park.   Many of the Sheep Dogs were participating in an SDIA Outdoor Adventure for the first time, and there was nervous excitement, and some anxiety, on many faces. Roger, a Navy veteran, was one of them. He sat alone for a while, and though he spoke with anyone who talked with him, he was quiet, watchful and apprehensive among so many strangers. He had taken a monumental step in helping himself by going on this trip – simply leaving his house was a battle he often didn’t win. But that day he had left his house…and went to an airport, and flew on two planes to get to Bozeman - HUGE wins...
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SDIA is Celebrating 10 Years of Helping Sheep Dogs #GetOffTheCouch in 2020

SDIA is Celebrating 10 Years of Helping Sheep Dogs #GetOffTheCouch in 2020

SDIA IS TURNING 10! It's hard to believe, but on July 13, 2020, SDIA will be 10 years old. That's: 10 years of helping our nation's heroes #GetOffTheCouch; 10 years of Disaster Response Missions and Outdoor Adventures; 10 years of lives changed by bringing Sheep Dogs together; and 10 years of working with amazing volunteers, supporters and sponsors to make it happen. Here's a quick look at where we started, and how we got to where we are today.   OUR HISTORY When Hurricane Katrina wiped out entire communities in 2005, people the world over were shocked by the devastation, and the fact that people sat for days without help…hungry, thirsty, injured, suffering and even dying. As most watched the horror unfold helplessly from their living rooms, the idea of Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) began to take shape when then USMC Gunnery Sergeant Lance Nutt used years of emergency and logistical training to lead a strategic relief effort to Pass Christian, Mississippi. It was...
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SDIA’s Trip to NYC Brings Healing, Camaraderie to 80+ Veterans, First Responders

SDIA’s Trip to NYC Brings Healing, Camaraderie to 80+ Veterans, First Responders

Veterans, First Responders Visit Ground Zero The last weekend in September 2019 was beautiful in New York City, and the nearly 90 Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) Outdoor Adventurers filled their days with an appearance on Fox & Friends, tours, food, a 5K and the much-needed camaraderie of their fellow Sheep Dogs. This SDIA Outdoor Adventure centered on Ground Zero, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation 5K because for many of the sponsored Sheep Dogs, their military and/or first responder professions began as a direct result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These sites were “bucket list” items for many, bringing them full circle, physically and emotionally. “I feel like my military career and experiences came full circle. That everyone I know who is no longer here is commemorated every year at the very least. And that this organization is here to have your six and get you out there and pushing forward.” This large...
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SDIA Outdoor Adventures Inspire Veterans, First Responders to #GetOffTheCouch

SDIA Outdoor Adventures Inspire Veterans, First Responders to #GetOffTheCouch

Outdoor Adventures Foster Healing for Veterans & First Responders From late March through early June, SDIA was very busy helping Sheep Dogs #GetOffTheCouch on SEVEN Outdoor Adventures. Particularly for sponsored Sheep Dogs – those veterans and/or first responders injured in combat/line of duty or experiencing intense stressors – time away from day-to-day issues and anxiety, and spending time outdoors with fellow Sheep Dogs is exactly what is needed. It fosters camaraderie, organic healing, and many times leads to a renewed sense of purpose to reengage in living a productive and meaningful life.   To all the companies, organizations and individuals that partnered with us and/or sponsored/donated to these Outdoor Adventures, thank you for your support and generosity, and for making our Sheep Dogs feel like the heroes they are. To see more photos from many of these adventures, visit our Facebook page.   If you are interested in learning more about our Outdoor Adventures or know of a Sheep Dog in need of camaraderie and...
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SDIA Partners with VA/Vet Centers to Improve Veterans’ Lives Through Yellowstone Adventure

SDIA Partners with VA/Vet Centers to Improve Veterans’ Lives Through Yellowstone Adventure

The beauty of Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone National Forest are spectacular in the summer, and as Sheep Dog Impact Assistance’s (SDIA) group of 43 veterans, first responders and family members discovered on the January 23-27 Yellowstone Outdoor Adventure, winter in this vast wilderness is just as stunning when riding a snowmobile. This was the first Outdoor Adventure SDIA conducted in partnership with the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and Vet Centers across the nation. Through this partnership, the VA and Vet Centers identified and recommended to SDIA 27 veterans; these veterans joined 8 other veterans and first responders for a weekend that took them on a guided snowmobile tour of the National Park, snowmobiling time on their own in the National Forest, group dinners, free time, and most importantly, time to talk with fellow Sheep Dogs about their experiences, struggles and successes. By giving them an opportunity to #GetOffTheCouch, the camaraderie and connection with peers that is so vital...
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Suicide is the Reason SDIA Empowers Sheep Dogs to #GetOffTheCouch

Suicide is the Reason SDIA Empowers Sheep Dogs to #GetOffTheCouch

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Many of us know or know of someone who has committed suicide. We also know that people of all ages, beliefs, professions, ethnic backgrounds and financial situations choose to end their lives. A widely publicized number of suicides for the veteran population is 22 per day, and it is estimated that the number of suicides in our first responder communities could be double that. How can we curb this surge of lives lost? How can we help those that are hurting so deeply? How can we get these brave men and women who are willing to die for us to talk about “it”? At Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA), we have seen that it starts with getting Sheep Dogs off the proverbial “couch” – that dark, desolate place that so many get stuck in – and around fellow Sheep Dogs who have suffered similar traumas & experiences. Being among their military and first responder brothers and sisters brings...
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SDIA & Skydiving Empower Air Force Veteran to Embrace Life

SDIA & Skydiving Empower Air Force Veteran to Embrace Life

For Air Force veteran and SDIA Member Dana Ames, jumping out of a plane on June 2 was more than a bucket list item. Like so many, this grandmother allowed life to beat her down and isolate her. But then she joined #SDIA. SDIA is empowering her to get stronger, more fit and to #GetOffTheCouch! “I want to show people that not only is helping others a way of life,” Dana said, “but it also helps yourself!” At times, many Sheep Dogs feel beaten down, isolated, or depressed. Transitioning from a military or first responder career can be a huge struggle, especially for those injured in combat or the line of duty. These heroes need something or someone to remind them who they are and that they still have much to contribute to making the world a better, safer place. SDIA sponsors these Sheep Dogs for Outdoor Adventures to foster camaraderie and healing in a comfortable setting surrounded by fellow Sheep...
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SDIA’s 6th Annual Heroes Gala to Help Veterans, First Responders  Get Off The Couch

SDIA’s 6th Annual Heroes Gala to Help Veterans, First Responders Get Off The Couch

  Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) will host their 6th Annual Heroes Gala on Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 5:30-11:00PM at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers. This year’s Heroes Gala will include a limited-seating VIP Reception at 4:30pm, followed by a social hour and silent auction bidding, a short ceremony, dinner and dancing. Awards to honor those Sheep Dogs who have lived out the SDIA motto, “Helping Others is a Way of Life,” will be presented to Military, Law Enforcement, and Fire & Rescue “Sheep Dogs of the Year.” Funds raised during the evening will be used to help more of our nation's Sheep Dogs #GetOffTheCouch with SDIA’s Disaster Response and Outdoor Adventure programs.   Guest speaker, SSgt Jose Sanchez (USMC, Ret.), and emcee, Cpl Aaron P. Mankin (USMC, Ret.), will entertain and inspire attendees with their life stories and anecdotes throughout the evening. SSgt Sanchez is an active SDIA member who suffered severe injuries as a Marine in October...
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