About Operation Heal Our Patriots
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A Place of Healing for America’s Heroes

According to the Department of Defense, over 48,000 U.S. service members have been wounded or injured as a result of combat actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the global war on terror since the 9/11 attacks. For these patriots, the road to recovery is long. Military couples in particular encounter intense challenges along the way.

Operation Heal Our Patriots, a ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse, focuses on bringing spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment to wounded and injured U.S. military service members and their spouses. To thank these brave men and women for their service and sacrifice, we offer programs uniquely developed to strengthen the marriage relationship and build hope for the future through the transforming power of God’s Word.

"Our week in Alaska really opened up our eyes to see God is still there. It was us that backed up, not Him." -- Army Sergeant Ken and Jessica Lind

Spending time with other participants is one important aspect of the week. “We love it because we’re around people who understand,” said Joey Caswell.

Spending time with other participants is one important aspect of the week. “We love it because we’re around people who understand,” said Joey Caswell.

Samaritan Lodge Alaska, sits on five acres of pristine lakefront property on the protected shores of Hardenburg Bay, in the southwestern portion of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. One of the deepest lakes in Alaska, Lake Clark spans 42 miles, surrounded by the glories of the Alaskan wild.

A Place of Restoration for Military Couples

Samaritan Lodge Alaska stands peacefully within the great wilderness of America’s last frontier. It is here, among mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife that we minister to the needs of America’s own victims of war. Military service members and their spouses have the opportunity to stay for one week, including travel time.

Each day, our on-site staff chaplain leads devotions and our Marriage Resiliency Workshop. This weeklong course offers couples time away from daily pressures and distractions to study the primary dynamics that have the greatest impact on a marriage. The workshop concludes with a worship service, which affirms and celebrates couples’ relationship with God and one another, amid the marvels of His creation.

"Operation Heal Our Patriots changed our lives and our way of thinking." -- Marine Staff Sergeants Walt and Rosie Townsend

 

What to Expect

The wilderness retreat center has more than 25 buildings, including cabins, a fitness facility, and a full-service community dining hall and lunch café. Meals are prepared each day by our on-site chef.

Wide porches overlooking Lake Clark invite relaxation, while evening fires provide a welcoming venue for conversation and laughter. Each day, our staff chaplain leads devotions and marriage enrichment courses.

Cozy cabins named after Alaskan wildlife provide a relaxing space for couples to unwind. This cabin, Ptarmigan, gets its moniker from Alaska’s state bird.

Cozy cabins named after Alaskan wildlife provide a relaxing space for couples to unwind. This cabin, Ptarmigan, gets its moniker from Alaska’s state bird.

Couples stay in their own personal cabin, with amenities that include a queen-size bed, full bath with provided toiletries, hot and cold running water, heat, and daily housekeeping service. All cabins and main buildings are within short walking distance of each other, and interconnected boardwalks ensure that all lodge facilities are fully accessible.

Guests enjoy a wide range of activities such as fishing, kayaking, hiking, bear watching, and boating. Our specialized 34-foot boat is outfitted with a folding bow that transitions into a ramp to the shore, providing easy access. Specific activities are tailored for each group of visitors. The wilderness retreat center is open from June through mid September. Guests will stay for one week, including travel time.

Travel to Alaska

All travel to and from Samaritan Lodge Alaska is planned, provided, and paid for by Samaritan’s Purse.

Commercial flights will be booked for Sundays from the most convenient airport to Anchorage. Here guests will transfer to a private plane and take the 150 mile journey to Lake Clark National Park. Lodge staff greets guests at the airport, drives them the short distance to the wilderness retreat center, and drops them off at the front door of their personal cabin.

Annual Reunions

Military couples who participated in Operation Heal Our Patriots are also invited for a yearly reunion where couples can reconnect with each other and their new friends and even renew their vows!

Army veteran Scooter and Nadia Gatsch look out from Dick Proenneke’s historic cabin at Twin Lakes. Scooter suffered several serious injuries while serving in Afghanistan in 2007.

Army veteran Scooter and Nadia Gatsch look out from Dick Proenneke’s historic cabin at Twin Lakes. Scooter suffered several serious injuries while serving in Afghanistan in 2007.

Aftercare

What military couples learn and experience through Operation Heal Our Patriots gives them a solid biblical foundation upon which to build a Christ-centered marriage. Helping them live it out at home is what leads to their long-term healing. That is why our ministry includes aftercare services that include:

  • Area military chaplain referrals
  • Local church follow-up
  • Additional resources for spiritual growth
 

Sample Schedule

Curious about what a typical day is like for the military couples of Operation Heal Our Patriots wilderness and marriage retreat? Below is a sample schedule of what your day may be like for you and your spouse during your stay at the Samaritan Lodge.

0700 - Breakfast
0745 - Devotions
0830 - Wilderness Skills Workshop (Fly Fishing, Kayaking, etc.)
0930 - Fishing/Bear Watching/Waterfalls Hike or Camp Activity
1200 - Lunch
1300 - Fishing/Bear Watching/Waterfall Hike/Camp Activity
1600 - Return to the Lodge
1800 - Dinner
1930 - Marriage Resiliency Seminar
2100 - Fire Pit or Free Time
2300 - Lights Out

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