PEOPLE Magazine Features
Project Sanctuary Family
Corporal Manning's Story Touches Thousands of Couples
"Can Corporal Manning Save his Marriage?" People Magazine reporter, Sharon Cotliar, dives into a hard hitting, realistic look at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and marriage after war. The Manning family's story begins in Virginia Beach, then follows Ian and Bernadette to a therapeutic retreat hosted by Project Sanctuary. There this young family, along with six other military families, engage in six days of diversion therapy, recreation, Healthy Marriage and Financial Peace classes all while enjoying the splendor and tranquility of YMCA's Snow Mountain Ranch.
Once feeling alone and isolated, Bernadette learns that she is among supportive peers and regains some hope to fight a bit harder for her marriage. Ian simply says during his time with Project Sanctuary, he fell in love with Bernadette all over again. Award winning photojournalist, Nina Berman captures the raw emotion of this love story brilliantly.
Since the six page full feature (dated August 29) the Parker, Colorado nonprofit has been inundated with emails and phone calls, mostly from military families, who relate to the Manning's very candid story of alcohol, punched holes in walls and their search for answers. Some of the most touching emails have come from Vietnam Veteran families, who are still trying to heal the psychological wounds of war. The story is heartbreaking, yet hopeful and the needs are real.
With the suicide rate at 18 veterans a day, Project Sanctuary is doing what no other nonprofit is, helping the entire family reconnect. Following the six day retreat the nonprofit stays with the families offering support and services for the military family for the next two years. Heather Ehle Executive Director says, "We simply provide a sanctuary, a place of healing, some hope, the magic happens all on its own".
With more than 700 families on the Project Sanctuary wait list, the story has generated many more applications from families. With donations still trickling in, not quite keeping pace, Project Sanctuary vows to continue their mission of helping all military families in need.
Six months following their therapeutic retreat, equip with more tools and new friends, Ian and Bernadette are still together. They readily admit that there are bad days, but they cling to hope that the good days will be more plentiful.
Project Sanctuary is a national nonprofit that helps military families reconnect. The focus is to help the entire family heal together in a unique, comprehensive two year program. The program kicks off with an all expense paid, 6 day Therapeutic retreat utilizing recreation as a form of Diversion therapy. Located in beautiful Colorado, Project Sanctuary families enjoy year round activities such as: hiking, fishing, horseback riding in a safe environment. The program also offers Healthy Marriage and Financial Peace classes and then these families are followed for the next two years, continuing to provide the support and services they need. Project Sanctuary is proud to serve active duty military, veterans, wounded warriors and gold star families. These families serve together, they deserve the chance to heal together.