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Furnishing Hope to Disabled Vets

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(May 7, 2013, Santa Ana, California) Beth Phillips and the folks at Furnishing Hope are doing amazing work, one home at a time, to create a healthy and nurturing environment for our wounded warriors and their families. Donations from the community, monies raised from furniture sales at the Santa Ana Furnishing Hope warehouse, and a per-apartment generous allowance from Living Spaces all support the work on behalf of these brave families.



It is shocking to learn that many returning vets are only 18-20 years old and although the military gives them an apartment to live in after they leave the hospital to continue their rehabilitation off-base, those apartments are not furnished. Imagine being a double amputee and having to sleep on a blow-up mattress on the floor? I can’t fathom it.

Furnishing Hope works with the warriors prior to their release from the hospital to determine what they need, then designs the furnishings for their new home. When the warriors are discharged from hospital in San Diego, they meet the Furnishing Hope team at their apartment. Beth borrows the apartment key for three hours and tells the family to take off until it is time for the reveal. While they are gone, the team swoops in with the moving van and gets to work, furnishing the apartment with everything: new beds, bedding, towels, clean kitchenware tucked into the cabinets, and all the furniture, including, in many cases, a crib for the baby’s room.



One of the success stories is a young couple expecting their first child in July, Michael and April Ortiz, who moved into their home in 2013. Michael served in the Army for 4.5 years and during his deployment in Iraq was injured by an IED attack that left him temporarily paralyzed. His traumatic brain injury and continuing severe PTSD are from previous engagements. When I interviewed him, he talked about the pride he felt when he saw April’s reaction to their new apartment. A man, he says, wants to provide for his family and being able to do so gives him a sense of pride. Furnishing Hope opened the door to new life for his family and showed him that there are people out there who care. Michael now has a new vocation. He builds a line of custom furniture made from reclaimed wood that is sold at Furnishing Hope. No need to ask if he is happy. The smile on his face says it all.

The video shot on Sunday is the first of a series scheduled for release by the Military Comm Networks as the third season of the After Action series, After Action – In Depth. Military Comm Networks was founded in 2010 by Chairman/CEO Dennis Butts and released the first two seasons of the After Action Series on USVets.TV. Special thanks goes to the team from Intelligent Assistance who helped on this shoot, Philip Hodgetts and Gregory Clarke. Their equipment and the use of the Lumberjack logging app is a great help to us.

For more information on Furnishing Hope, please click here.

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About Cirina Catania

Cirina Catania is a writer, director, journalist and former marketing executive at a Fortune 100 company with a long history of success in both the major studio and independent film environment. She is one of the co-founders and former director of the Sundance Film Festival. She has written, directed and/or shot numerous television shows and her credits include National Geographic’s “Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos” as writer/field producer, the ground-breaking 12-part series for Discovery Channel, “Southern Steel;” a made-for-TV movie/pilot entitled, “John Douglas-Mindhunter;” 13 episodes of Lifetime’s “ Merge,” starring Lisa Rinna; 16 episodes of “Worst Case Scenario,” for Columbia Television, 6 episodes of “Untold Stories from the ER,” for TLC; and 2 episodes of “Animal Kidding,” for Animal Planet. Ms. Catania also produces the popular weekly one-hour tech podcast, Digital Production BuZZ, which is streamed live each Thursday evening from 6 to 7 pm PdT or can be downloaded on iTunes. She writes for Technorati here: http://www.technorati.com/people/cirina