After a stint as an infantry officer ended with the death of 12 of his fellow soldiers in a helicopter crash, Karl Monger returned to civilian life with no idea where to go next. He noticed a lack of resources for veterans in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where he could connect with the local community.
In 2010, he founded the nonprofit GallantFew, an organization that provides transition assistance and veteran support to service members transitioning and leaving the military. To date, they have provided nearly 13,000 services and assisted nearly 6,500 veterans.
“[The accident] triggered a sequence of events that caused me to leave the military, and for the next eight years I kind of disconnected myself from everyone I knew there,” Monger said. “Our burden became: ‘How can we connect them?’ And then, when problems start to arise, “How do we solve these problems?”
The basis of how the non-profit organization operates is that they require veterans to take what is called the GallentFew Azimuth Check. The self-assessment tool rates veterans from 1 to 10 on emotional, physical, spiritual, professional and social levels. Whichever area they score lowest in, the nonprofit can start talking about next steps to help.
One of GallantFew’s strengths is how they connect veterans to the community. One such program is Indoor Climbing for Grapevine and Plano Veterans. This event takes place weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and the nonprofit covers all costs that occur. By bonding rather than trusting each other when climbing, veterans are able to regain their self-confidence and reintegrate into the community.
“One of the biggest issues I see in military transition is isolation. It’s leaving the military and feeling guilt and shame for what you did or didn’t do,” Monger said. “What we’ve seen with veterans is when they come [rock climb], it increases their self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence. It improves their physical condition, but now they are beginning to communicate.
The nonprofit also helped found the Metroport Veteran Association, an informal group in the Southlake Roanoke area that meets once a month to hear a veteran’s story. By sharing stories with their peers, veterans are better able to communicate with each other.
Having a small nonprofit in the community really makes its members feel supported and like they know someone who understands what veterans have been through and can help them through. positive choices in their lives after leaving the military.
“We’re a small organization that has a global reach, and because we do individual things, we very quickly enter into an intimate relationship with a veteran client,” Monger said.
For the month of November, the group is co-hosting a Veterans Day celebration from 11 a.m. to noon on November 11 with Trophy Club at Veterans Memorial Park at Independence Park West, 501 Parkview Drive. Other GallantFew events can be found here, along with other resources. Community members can get involved by learning more on their website.
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