Walking Off the War - Helping Heroes Heal

Cibolo, TX

Unresolved PTSD and moral injury are two of the leading factors contributing to veteran suicide. Even with all the good work that's being done by many organizations (both official and unofficial), the demand consistently exceeds the need. One way to help is to provide direct, grassroots-level engagement with the veterans who are struggling. Warriors on the Way (www.WarriorsOnTheWay.org) is one such grassroots-level effort to reduce the experience of PTSD and moral injury among our nation’s veterans with a goal of reducing the chance of suicide among them.

My name is Steven Glenn Rindahl. I am a retired U.S. Army Chaplain, and the founder and director of Warriors on the Way. Upon my retirement from a 31-year career in the Army, mixed between enlisted service and service as a chaplain, I walked the third oldest pilgrimage route in the world – the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I walked with the question, "What will I do next," as my focus of prayer and contemplation. The answer was literally right under my feet. After some profound experiences of personal healing, it became obvious that other veterans needed the opportunity to experience the healing available on the Camino.

Upon my return to the United States, with the support of smart friends who knew how to get things done, the 501c3 Warriors on the Way was formed with the intent of raising funds to sponsor and lead pilgrimages that are purpose-designed for combat veterans to participate in a PTSD and moral injury healing pilgrimage. With a leadership team consisting of a priest, a psychologist and a logistician, Warriors on the Way has been bringing veterans on the Camino de Santiago every year since 2018 (except 2020), and has our next pilgrimage planned for the next group of veterans.

The results have been amazing. With reduction of PTSD and moral injury symptoms running from 56-71%, lives are changed as veterans are transformed away from their various traumas. More than the numbers, the testimonies of being able to sleep through the night for the first time, feelings of burdens lifted from shoulders, knowing that “being normal again” is possible and the notes of appreciation from spouses after their veterans return a changed person are the most satisfying. The most critical and recent testimony from a veteran who has taken this trip says, “Had this trip not given me hope, I was prepared to kill myself.”

Warriors on the Way was born from a vision for veteran care I had while walking a dirt trail that others have been walking since A.D. 821. With the help of a small team and generous donors, we are helping those within our reach turn away from self-destruction. Together, we are #WalkingOffTheWar and #HelpingHeroesHeal

Will you join us in the effort?
Fr Steve

« Previous story
Next story »