Thank You John and Greta!

July 6, 2014 • United States
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Greta Van Susteren, the host of "On the Record" on the Fox News Channel, and her husband, John Coale, encouraged Operation Heal Our Patriots heroes and their spouses over July 4

Greta Van Susteren and her husband John Coale traveled to Alaska over July 4 weekend to encourage military couples participating in Operation Heal Our Patriots.

“What an encouragement they were to these wounded heroes and their spouses,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell was also the guest of Graham and his wife, Jane, on July 4.

“Just like last year when I traveled to Alaska to fish with the wounded and their spouses, I got to know many of them and spent a good deal of time having fun (fishing or bear watching) and just talking,” Van Susteren said on her blog. “Every single one of them you would want to know, too. Each is so humble, and each helps each other … and each talks about others who they say have it so much harder. I don’t know how they do it—but I am in awe of each one of them. These vets and their spouses are amazing.

Mike and Steff Trost pose for a photo with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. Mike was shot five times while serving as an Army master sergeant in Afghanistan.

Mike and Steff Trost pose for a photo with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. Mike was shot five times while serving as an Army master sergeant in Afghanistan.

“They have had a tough time and Operation Heal Our Patriots gives them a chance to get away, work on their marriages, and meet new friends who understand what they are going through since they, too, are dealing with bad injuries.

“What is particularly great about Operation Heal Our Patriots is that when the week is over they don’t get dropped like a hot potato. Samaritan’s Purse stays in touch with them making frequent phone calls to see how they are doing, asking if they need help, etc.

“In the spring Samaritan’s Purse holds a reunion in North Carolina so they can continue to keep their friendships and to continue to know that others are willing to help them.”

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren cooks her famous Gretacakes for the staff and volunteers at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren cooks her famous Gretacakes for the staff and volunteers at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

On Sunday, Van Susteren got up early to make her world-famous “Greta cakes” for the Samaritan Lodge Alaska staff before greeting the next group of veterans that arrived in the afternoon.

Van Susteren has accompanied Graham on several trips, including to Samaritan Lodge Alaska last summer and the Operation Heal Our Patriots reunion earlier this year. She has been an advocate of Samaritan’s Purse on her program and on her blog. She has reported on our work in northern Iraq, North Korea, South Sudan, Haiti, and Alaska.

Because of her reporting on behalf of the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake in December 2010, an orphanage constructed and supported by Samaritan’s Purse is named in her honor.

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren fishes at the mouth of the Tanalian River with Operation Heal Our Patriots participants Chuck Armstead and Amy Taft. Chuck was serving as a sergeant first class in the Army when he was shot at close range with an AK-47. The bullet shattered his right hip, hitting an artery and also severing the nerves in his lower back. His right leg was amputated up to the hip. Amy is married to Ward Taft, who is suffering from TBI and PTSD after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren fishes at the mouth of the Tanalian River with Operation Heal Our Patriots participants Chuck Armstead and Amy Taft. Chuck was serving as a sergeant first class in the Army when he was shot at close range with an AK-47. The bullet shattered his right hip, hitting an artery and also severing the nerves in his lower back. His right leg was amputated up to the hip. Amy is married to Ward Taft, who is suffering from TBI and PTSD after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Operation Heal Our Patriots is the Samaritan’s Purse ministry to military couples with a spouse wounded or injured in combat or combat-related activities after 9/11. During the week, 10 couples enjoyed outdoor activities and biblically-based classes designed to strengthen marriages.

Six couples rededicated their marriages during their time in Alaska. Two couples were baptized on Friday, including Edward and Jen Mertz.

“I was lost for a long time,” said Edward, a Marine gunnery sergeant who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after being injured in Afghanistan in 2011. “I’ve got a lot of baggage I’ve had to deal with over the last 4 to 5 years.”

This was the fifth of 15 weeks of the Operation Heal Our Patriots summer season. Through the program, husbands and wives spend five days on pristine Lake Clark with other couples facing similar challenges.

The retreat offers a variety of outdoor adventures, biblically-based marriage resiliency classes, and daily devotions led by retired military chaplains. Through these activities, couples can make cherished memories together and experience God’s healing love in a unique environment.

John Coale, Greta Van Susteren's husband, takes a turn flipping the Gretacakes.

John Coale, Greta Van Susteren’s husband, takes a turn flipping the Gretacakes.

Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham serves a Gretacake to Operation Heal Our Patriots staff chaplain Jim Fisher.

Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham serves a Gretacake to Operation Heal Our Patriots staff chaplain Jim Fisher.

Greta Van Susteren, whose program “On The Record” is the top-rated show on cable news in its time slot, is an accomplished attorney, journalist, and photojournalist.

SUPPORT
Operation Heal Our Patriots helps military couples build a strong spiritual foundation during a week of Biblically based workshops, relationship-building wilderness activities, and individual care by our retired military chaplains. We offer all this free of charge to these American heroes as a token of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Your gift will help us cover the costs—including transportation, lodging, activities, and long-term aftercare—so that we can help them find hope in the Lord.
Bless the Marriage of a Military Couple Operation Heal Our Patriots helps military couples build a strong spiritual foundation during a week of Biblically based workshops, relationship-building wilderness activities, and individual care by our retired military chaplains. We offer all this free of charge to these American heroes as a token of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Your gift will help us cover the costs—including transportation, lodging, activities, and long-term aftercare—so that we can help them find hope in the Lord.

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