Fallen Warriors Foundation began in 1993 when Jack Estes and his wife Colleen O'Callaghan and their two young children, traveled to Vietnam. The intent of their trip was twofold; to find a Vietnamese soldier who helped save Jack's life and to begin the healing process for Jack. Colleen's idea was that if Jack carried humanitarian supplies, such as medicine and toys for children, it might reduce the memories of him carrying a machine gun, in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam.
The Fallen Warriors Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated through humanitarian work to honoring the sacrifices of American soldiers and help heal the pain of war. Our organization is non-political and was created with the sole purpose to be of assistance to those in need.
Enormous pain and suffering still exist as a cause and effect of the Vietnam war. When our current soldiers come home, just like WWII, Korea and Vietnam they suffer from the emotional pain of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is our hope to ease that suffering through various humanitarian work and the power of meditation and gathering with other veterans in a safe environment.
We provide an environment for Veterans and their families who experience PTSD symptoms to explore a different response to the symptoms. For the last fifteen years we have offered a four day veterans retreat. For the last several years we have met at Silver Creek Falls Conference Center in Sublimity Oregon, for our retreat. At the retreat we focus on meditation as a means for healing pain. We have a sitting meditation, walking meditation and writing meditation. The retreat is led by a former Army Crew Chief, Claude Anshin Thomas, who was shot down over Vietnam. He is now a Zen Buddhist Monk. This is not a religious retreat. It is an opportunity to meet with other veterans and their love ones to share suffering and discover new ways to deal with PTSD.
Beginning in September of 1993, through private donations, we have hand delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies to Vietnam hospitals, medical clinics, orphanages and remote villages where supplies were . In addition, we created a scholarship fund and transported books, toys, a microscope, computers and other educational material to Le Quy Don High School in Da Nang; a school for talented and gifted students. We donated and hand carried medical supplies and equipment to World Vision, in DaNang for a prosthesis clinic and contributed $2,500 to their blind prevention program. In addition, we sent a fifteen ton container filled with medical equipment, books, toys and two Kidney Dialysis machines. One year we took doctors and nurses from Medical Teams International to Vietnam to work in remote villages and hospitals with very little medical services. On another trip back we took a dozen Vietnam veterans, many who were disabled on a mission of healing. Each veteran carried 70 pounds of donations. We were able to take each veteran back to their battle fields, to their original point of pain. We helped them create new memories of Vietnam that helped deal with their pain. Our projects and donations are sometimes small but have significant impact. For instance, a former Desert Storm soldier donated as electric hand drill from his garage. It is now being used by a hospital in Vietnam during neurological surgery. We have created theater pieces for veterans and Feasts for Peace where veterans and former protesters shared food in reconciliation. Currently we are working with incarcerated veterans where we developed a speaker bureau to bring speakers to the prison. We have also provided some financial assistance for several veterans when they were released.
Co-Founder Collen O'Callaghan
Co-Founder Jack Estes
Let the Healing Begin
by Cliff Newell, Lake Oswego Review - January 16, 2014
In this article, Jack Estes and his wife Colleen O'Callaghan discuss their newest project, a documentary film entitled “Wounded Spirits, Healing From Trauma: the Vietnam Veterans.” The film reveals the toll that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) takes on veterans. Four Vietnam veterans, including Estes, talk about what they endured in a war that officially ended in 1975 but which they are still fighting in their minds and souls. READ ARTICLE