Stephen E. Sherman is being recognized as a Champion of Change for his dedication to service and his continued support for efforts to end homelessness, boost employment and treat mental health disparities for fellow veterans.
As a 91-year-old disabled World War II veteran and founder of Dorie Miller Memorial Foundation, I am honored to be recognized by President Obama as a White House Champion of Change. I appreciate the Obama Administration for giving me a bigger voice to share how together we can make a better future for our returning and senior veterans.
For more than 12 years, I have tirelessly worked in the veteran community to prevent homelessness, bridge the gap for access to quality medical treatment, and eradicate hunger in the veteran community. My daily mantra is “leave no soldier behind.”
My service to the United States did not end when I was honorably discharged in 1946. Over the years, I have assisted returning and senior veterans with filing claims to get the funds and services due them by the U.S. Government. My mission to continue to honor the men and women who served our country officially began in the year 2000 while on a visit to Denver, Colorado. I encountered a homeless, disabled man who identified himself as a Vietnam veteran who served as a captain in the Marines. It broke my heart to see a fellow veteran with severe skin lesions on both his arms. I immediately offered him help to seek medical attention.
When I returned to California and witnessed veterans as a growing underserved population, I founded the Dorie Miller Memorial Foundation, named after my friend Doris "Dorie" Miller, the first hero of WWII at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Located in Van Nuys, California, the Foundation’s mission is to help bridge the gap with the delivery of evidence-based care to all veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental illness and to eradicate homelessness among veterans by providing accessibility to adequate residential housing.
Thankfully, I met Arnold Bresky, M.D. who developed an innovative program called “Whole Person Centered Care.” Dr. Bresky’s program includes music therapy, marital/family relationships consultation, understanding autism in military families, holistic treatment for veterans affected by PTSD, and reintegration processes to prepare veterans for long-term success in the workplace. I am an example of Dr. Bresky’s scientific and evidenced based program’s success.
The Whole Person Centered Care is a major component of the Dorie Miller Memorial Foundation. Too often medication is the prescribed treatment for veterans, which has proved fatal especially when many veterans are addicted to alcohol, prescription drugs, and/or an illegal substance. The holistic program consists of four pillars: physical activity, mental activity, social activity, and good cardiovascular health. It utilizes education and empowerment through cognitive behavioral therapy.
The work of the Doris Miller Memorial Foundation can be replicated by establishing whole wellness centers for veterans in any part of the nation with the use of tele-medicine and the technology of Skype to provide training programs/workshops for veterans, physicians and other medical professionals. Additionally, educating and training of volunteers, civilians and/or veterans to assist with the barriers and challenges to process and submit paperwork for medical, financial, housing claims to help eradicate homelessness, hunger, and health issues.
Stephen E. Sherman is a 91-year-old disabled World War II veteran. He is the founder and CEO of the Dorie Miller Memorial Foundation located in Van Nuys, California.