On Sunday, Feb. 19, Jewish War Veterans (JWV), Copper State Post 619, welcomes MAJ (Retired) Cassandra “CaS” Facciponti, founder of Operation Shockwave, who will tell how her organization is devoted to healing veterans to prevent suicides. The meeting takes place at 10 a.m. at the Poolside building of Oakwood Country Club, 24218 S. Oakwood Blvd. in Sun Lakes.
A graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, CaS Facciponti had an illustrious career in the U.S. Army for more than 10 years. Following medical retirement, she continues to support fellow veterans and their families on their healing journeys.
Since September 2022, Operation Shockwave’s purpose has never been more evident. Operation Deep Dive, funded by Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation and verified by the Department of Defense, published over 44 veterans a day die by suicide and self-injury mortality. This is 2.4 times higher than the most recent Department of Veterans Affairs statistic. Moreover, Arizona is now ranked 5th (formerly 6th) in the country in veteran suicide rates.
Shockwave’s upstream healing programs are unique and not offered anywhere else. “Our belief is that trauma does not discriminate. To heal the veteran, we must also heal the family and other support team members,” states Facciponti.
Shockwave offers creative holistic events for veterans and their families through book clubs, open mics, social excursions for veterans with service animals, ice baths, and the Alpaca Your Trauma Program at Harpster Farms with leash-led alpacas and llamas.
The organization’s Thrive Tribe program encourages a sense of belonging, which, in turn, stimulates its members to find a purpose, direction, and motivation!
Last year Operation Shockwave was able to provide hands-on help to 6,863 Valley veterans, including their families. This is remarkable for a five-year-old organization with zero paid staff and only three volunteers, CaS and her best friends Jae and Natalie Marek.
In 2021 the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans named CaS one of 27 women Veteran Trailblazers of the Year. To better help veterans and their families thrive and reach their full potential, MAJ Facciponti is pursuing a doctoral degree in performance psychology at Grand Canyon University.
Complimentary bagels, lox, doughnuts, and coffee start at 9:30 a.m., followed by the speaker at 10 a.m. Everyone is invited, and there is no charge, but attendees wishing to eat are asked to notify Judy Wolin at 480-802-8521 or [email protected] by Friday, Feb. 17.
JWV Post 619, which meets the third Sunday of the month from September through May, welcomes both veterans and patrons of all faiths.
Fundraising activities enable the Post to accomplish its mission of supporting veterans who are hospitalized, at-risk, or experiencing homelessness. Thanks to a partnership with Fry’s Food Stores and the Mesa Market Place, JWV volunteers raise sufficient funds to contribute to veterans organizations in the Valley throughout the year.
To learn more about JWV activities and membership, contact Commander Chuck Wolin at 602-300-5913 or [email protected]