Our Opportunity to Serve
What a privilege it was to be invited to attend a Veterans Day Benefit Gala on Sunday, November 10, 2019 by a friend and former student of mine, David Kupferschmid, Licensed Massage Therapist. David has been a volunteer with an organization called CAUSE (Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services) since 2011. David’s role with CAUSE has been to provide massage to the wounded bodies of the military men and women he comes across through the partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
What started for David as a biweekly event at the hospital has blossomed to having these wounded veterans in his home regularly to receive much needed and appreciated bodywork to help them deal with chronic pain, recovering from surgical procedures and amputations, and to find relief from having their bodies torn apart, all at no cost to the veteran.
A Legacy of Service
At the Veterans Day Benefit Gala, I met Major Richard Burkette, USMC, and his wife, Melissa Burkett, USMC. Richard and Melissa were guest speakers at the event. During Major Burkett’s sixth deployment, the plane he was piloting crashed. His injuries eventually resulted in amputations of both of his legs; one above the knee and one below the knee. He was one of only two survivors of the crash. Over the next couple years, Major Burkett has endured more than 50 surgeries at Walter Reed Hospital. At Walter Reed is where Richard and Melissa met David.
At the Gala, I also met Corporal Gaven Eier, USMC. While in Afghanistan, Gaven was injured by an IED. After having more than 20 surgeries and dealing with inconceivable pain, a large portion of his right leg was amputated. Gaven is also a regular client of David’s.
AMBI Students in Action
In continuance of David’s giving nature, he reached out to me a few weeks back to ask me if I’d like to have these Wounded Warriors at our school (AMBI) on Veteran’s Day for a demonstration and then to give our students the opportunity to work on these vets. I have a copy (link to that article below) of an ABMP magazine with David on the cover working on a wounded veteran, and now David and the veteran would be at our campus!
On Veteran’s Day we did have Melissa, Richard, and Gaven at our campus. For nearly two hours we tried to spoil them as best we could and provide massage therapy on these amazing people. It was one of the most humbling experiences of our lives, and we were honored to have them here, and to David for the introduction.