The Peggy Crosby Center’s newest tenant is Overland Unlimited Bridge of Hope, whose mission is to educate veterans about how to overcome the long-term effects of combat and operational stress.
Founded by Justin Kingsland, a former British Army Airborne Special Forces member, Bridge of Hope seeks to help veterans and first responders who are suffering from the residual impact of their service. Justin was motivated to create this program when a close friend, a veteran, committed suicide.
Some of you may remember reading about Justin’s for-profit venture, Highlands Excursions in Laurel last fall. When not busy with this charitable endeavor Justin is active offering tours of the Plateau and surrounding areas of interest. He offers the excursions of Highlands area free to Gold Star families.
An avid outdoorsman, Justin realized that his love of nature and his knowledge of survival skills might provide needed relief for veterans suffering after their discharge. He uses educational materials from well-known behavioral specialist and author Pam Wolls as a foundation for the program. Ms. Wolls also serves on the Board of OUBH.
Utilizing nearby national parks for a two to three-day Warrior Survival School, the veterans are taught survival skills needed to improve their future lives. Participants discuss resilience, the impact of stress chemicals, and how to rebalance their stress system.
The program is free to veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as first responders. Participants are referred to the program through word of mouth, the VA, and the website.
Bridge of Hope relies on contributions and grants. To support Overland Unlimited Bridge of Hope, a 501(c)(3) organization, go to oubridgeofhope.org Having space at the Peggy Crosby Center provides Justin with a professional environment, interaction with other non-profits, plus conference space for debriefing, and storage for equipment. The PCC is a non-profit 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization established to provide office space to other non-profits and community-serving organizations for a modest rent. Contributions to PCC fund all the improvements; rental income pays only ongoing maintenance. Holding rents low allows non-profits to spend more of their resources serving the community.