AVF Beginnings

Acupuncture for Veterans and their Families (AVF) was officially formed in November of 2009, and received it’s 501(c)(3)status on July 14, 2011. In this article, I’d like to share AVF’s mission, introduce its board members, and give thanks to those who have helped AVF along the way.

AVF’s mission is to provide low and no-cost health care for veterans, active duty persons, and their immediate family members through Chinese medicine and acupuncture in order to help alleviate stress and pain from combat experiences. Chinese medicine and acupuncture has been used successfully for the treatment of mind and body ailments for thousands of years. Currently, medical doctors, such as Col. Dr. Richard Niemtzow, have treated active duty soldiers with acupuncture, and have proposed a model for “battlefield acupuncture” to treat stress and pain related to combat. Those who have served our country often return home injured in body and mind, and yet cannot afford to pay for Chinese medicine services that could help manage and alleviate some stress and pain.

AVF board members provide invaluable assistance as well, and continue to be there while AVF is growing. James Gillies, whom I’ve known since I was seventeen, lives in Bellingham, Washington. James is a Vietnam veteran, serves as Secretary for AVF, and offers practical and financial support, and inspiration. Joe Vastano, another old friend that I met when I was just nineteen, is a professor and writer living in Austin, TX.  Joe edited written material and contacted his old friend, Devon O’dell, who is a District Court Judge in Denver. Devon then connected me with Shannon Sharrock, an attorney in Fort Collins, who donated her time to meet with me personally, over the phone and through email, and completed the bylaws and articles of incorporation along with providing guidance and direction. Both Shannon and her husband are veterans as well. AVF welcomed Deborah Coccoli as Treasurer in July of 2012. Deborah has over 20 years of experience working within the non-profit sector, is a spouse of a Vietnam veteran, and not only serves as the AVF Treasure, but very gracefully integrates her work with AVF into the community.  Kelly Martindale, served as one of the original board members in 2011. Kelly wrote two grants in the fall of 2011.  While AVF has not received grant funding, we continue by providing community style acupuncture and through the VA’s Non VA Care program.

While there is still work to do in terms of set up and fiscal support, AVF received supply donations from Blue Poppy in Boulder, and a second donation in 2012 from Honora Wolfe.  Additionally, Mike Bailey at Lhasa OMS made various supply donations.  With these donations, I began meeting with people at Veterans Helping Veterans Now, located at 600 Terry in Longmont, to offer community style acupuncture. We met there from July 7th 2011 through the August 2012 and then moved the community acupuncture services to the Longmont American Legion where chair massage was added.   Chair massage continues at the Longmont American Legion the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month.  Acupuncture has moved to Daisy Lear’s office in Longmont by appointment in order to provide quiet, private sessions.

Supplement donation from Dr. Dean Chai of “Prime Chlorella” in Calgary arrived in October 2011. A prompt reply and donation of this invaluable food source, chlorella, was distributed to AVF clients the same week of it’s arrival at no cost. Dr. Chai told his colleague in Calgary, Jin Meng, of “Herb’s Best Nutrition” about AVF and Jin wrote an email offering an herbal donation. We were so happy for the offer and began distributing all the products the same week as their arrival.

Also, AVF attended the Veterans’ Resource Forum presented by U.S. Congressman Jared Polis and U.S. Senator Mark Udall on August 23 at the Boulder American Legion Post 10. There were attendees from both the state and private organizations to provide resource information such as employment opportunities, health care and benefits. I learned more about government benefits and programs that are available for veterans and their families, and also met many veterans in need of the health care that AVF has to offer.

Thank you all so much.

Daisy Lear, MSOM, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., AVF Founder and President
303.587.3557 daisylear@gmail.com Longmont, CO

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