Sgt. Brett D’Alessandro returned home from a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan to what he thought was the end of a long road. He learned very quickly that an even longer road filled with struggle and confusion lay ahead. After a challenging deployment, Brett and those whom he returned home, were now facing the hardest part of the process; reintegrating into their civilian lives while battling with the hidden wounds of war.
Following a face-to-face encounter with a homeless veteran on the streets of Rhode Island in the winter, something resonated with Brett. It wasn’t just him or those he was deployed with or this man on the side of the road…it was MANY veterans, nationwide, who had to deal with the trauma of coming home and not knowing where to turn. Brett took this moment as a sign to do more and be more for his fellow servicemen and women. That day, Brett distributed a backpack to this veteran filled with socks, t-shirts, and warming layers. From this simple act…Backpacks For Life was born.
Since 2014, BFL has devoted its life to make sure that no Veteran has to suffer by providing him/her with the correct tools to recover. These tools include coaching services, communal meals, making the veterans feel human, and letting each Veteran know that he or she isn’t alone. The recovery process is aided by countless hours of personal interaction and the physical distribution of backpacks. Backpacks represent the first line of defense, a symbol of hope, and so much more to the team at Backpacks For Life.
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