Helping Heroes Move On

A group of veterans and their spouses.
A group of veterans and their spouses prepare for a rafting trip through Operation Second Chance. prepare for a rafting trip through Operation Second Chance.

Veterans returning home from a tour of duty in a war zone will tell you that getting back to everyday life is not easy. Returning can be even more difficult for family members who struggle to understand the changes that occur in their loved ones after a combat deployment. Reintegration between soldiers and their families is difficult.

Operation Second Chance—a nonprofit organization— supports wounded and ill service members during their recovery and assists them as they transition back to duty or civilian life, understanding how a positive attitude can impact the recovery process. The organization sees the struggles as families try to reconnect and regain “normal” life after returning home from a war zone with injuries. It recognizes the stress families experience from combat-related trauma, and the importance of strong family support.

One of the ways the organization assists veterans and their families is by providing retreats that allow servicemen and women and their families to
step away from the daily grind of life to relax and reconnect.

OSC began in 2004, when Cindy McGrew, president and founder, learned of seven soldiers injured and enroute to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She immediately sent emails to the families to offer her support and assistance.

OSC has a small staff and a large network of patriotic volunteers committed to serving our wounded, injured and ill veterans. OSC supports veterans and their families by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. OSC is dedicated to promoting public awareness of the sacrifices made by armed forces members.

Veterans enjoy a relaxing boat ride during last year’s Operation Second Chance event.
Veterans enjoy a relaxing boat ride during last year’s Operation Second Chance event.

OSC offers a variety of retreats, depending on the individual’s injuries and their ability to get away. During these retreats, the volunteers and community offer many activities, and give veterans and their families the opportunity to rest, relax and complete activities on their own. All OSC retreats are all-inclusive and have no cost to our recovering service members and their families.

Volunteers from Idaho’s section of OSC will offer a retreat July 20 to 26 for four service members and their spouse or care giver in North Idaho. Retreats are funded and completed with hundreds of volunteer hours and donations from business and individuals.

This year’s retreat will feature adrenaline-based events to help couples reconnect through zip lining, rafting, fishing on the Coeur’ d Alene River, high mountain four-wheeling and a pontoon boat trip from Sandpoint to Bayview on Lake Pend Oreille. Also included is a day of rest and relaxation. Most
all of the meals and some of the hotel and flight expenses are donated by local business and donations of money also support this activity.

If you would like to volunteer with the retreat or donate, please contact David Pemberton at (208) 661-5911,,, or send mail to P.O. Box 473 Bayview, ID83803.