I remember well the days when I would sit on my sundeck on West Zinfandel Lane when I first moved to Napa Valley back in 2001, chatting with friends about how idyllic our Napa Valley lifestyle was. I would write to my parents in Sydney and include the Saint Helena Police Log that documented every single call they received. I would tell my parents that the worst thing that ever happened was an unknown car was parked in someone’s driveway or that a screaming match had broken out in the middle of the night, so they need not worry about my safety because nothing terrible ever happens in Napa Valley.
While still an idyllic lifestyle, much has changed since 2001, including the police log. The most recent tragedy occurred in The Pathway Home at the Veterans Home in Yountville. The Pathway Home was established in 2008 and is a rehabilitation center for young Veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Veterans are taken into a twelve-month program at The Pathway Home with the goal of successfully reintegrating back into the community. The message of The Pathway Home is From Military Service to Civilian Success.
Sadly, one of the Veterans who had recently been dismissed from the program returned to The Pathway Home on Friday, March 9, 2018, and took the three leaders of the program hostage and ultimately took their lives. On that day, The Pathway Home lost their Executive Director, Clinical Director, their Clinical Psychologist and her unborn child. An unspeakable tragedy that took the lives of three beautiful, young and selfless women who had made a significant contribution to not only the program but the Veterans that had once called The Pathway Home “home”.
My dear and long-time friend Dorothy Salmon, Board Chair of The Pathway Home, has been a champion of this incredible program for as long as I can remember. She has worked tirelessly for years raising private funding to support the program and has been lobbying the government to adopt this very successful program nationally. Just days before the tragedy, we had finally put Sunday, April 29, 2018, on our calendars to host a thank you dinner for the major donors at my home. At my urging, Dorothy is considering using this event as a group discussion amongst influencers on how our Bay Area philanthropic leaders can join together to duplicate The Pathway Home model in more communities than Yountville.
If you know Dorothy as well as I do, then you know that her broken heart has not broken her dream and resolve to rehabilitate these deeply wounded veterans across the country. Recognizing that this horrific event catapulted The Pathway Home on to the international stage, Dorothy has worked day and night since this tragedy and has set her sights on continuing the mission. With more voices standing with The Pathway Home the mission WILL go forward with mental health professionals locally and in partnership with VA experts, community supporters and dedicated volunteers. If you’re reading this and want to support this mission please read on www.thepathwayhome.org.
Enjoy the rest of the newsletter. Next month I will be sharing something with you that is going to be super fun.