Active Heroes Retreat Center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky is a beautiful place provided for veterans and their famlies at no charge. We have been working hard at the Retreat Center to add cabins, finish out the Event Pavilion, and work on the Retreat Center as a whole to provide more healing areas and activities for our veterans and their families. We have been graced with wonderful volunteers during this process. One specific volunteer has put forth more time and effort and is making a huge difference at the Active Heroes Retreat Center, Don Barbiea.
Don Barbiea is a retired disabled AirForce Veteran with severe CPTSD. Don is retired from 24 years and 7 combat tours. Don is 56, a Kentucky native, and a retired AirForce Civil Engineer. He has 4 children. His family has grown up being a military family, dealing with the difficulties of that. Don is an architect by trade. He loves being outdoors and working on projects, especially ones that can save lives. He was a scoutmaster for 25 years with his 2 sons. After he retired he opened Veteran’s Construction Group LLC here in Louisville. It is a general construction company with a majority of the projects in Commercial Retail Construction. As of February 2019, Don had to take a step back from his company due to medical issues. He was recently qualified for a therapy dog through the VA, his name is Maverick, a labrador puppy and he is about to start his training to be certified as a therapy dog! Don’s wife is a a Critical Care RN and works at an ICU at a hospital.
Don donated a powered wheelchair to the Active Heroes Retreat Center and said when he came out to the property with his son, he thought he was ” HOME”. He said ” I just immediately had this comforting feeling and knew I had an opportunity to help”. With Don’s CPTSD with large groups of people can make him very uncomfortable, which is quite common amongst our veteran family. Don says at the retreat, ” I can be around veterans and others who appreciate us. I come out now to make my day to day life better“.
We asked Don how he feels about the rate of over 20 veteran suicides a day, Don said, “As a 1st Sergeant I personally encountered Airmen on multiple occasions with the fear that they were going to commit suicide. At one of my mental health therapy sessions, a vet was able to say he felt like he was going to hurt himself and they immediately asked if he needed help and he said yes. Thank goodness that day he was able to get help. It’s an ugly world for some veterans that can’t get care in the place of darkness”. Active Heroes would like to mention to this statement, we also provide peer mentor services for veterans, that provide healing talk with other veterans and mental health education virtually. Check out Peer Mentor services here.
Don has been so helpful to us at the Active Heroes Retreat Center, especially at a time when finding volunteers is a bit harder than normal. We are so very grateful for him and his assistance! Thank you Don, we cherish you and your resilience as you fight your battles daily to keep striving for a better tomorrow.
Active Heroes Retreat Center is open and welcoming visitors and cabin guests. To learn more or to sign up to stay visit our site here.
To donate to Active Heroes go here.
To find out how to Become a Business Partner go here.
Active Heroes is an IRS registered Top Rated 501c3 Charity that assists Military Families.