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From the war-torn soil of Iraq emerges a place of restoration for weary soldiers

During the height of the Global War on Terrorism, the world watched as conflict ripped across the Middle East. The events that took place on September 11, 2001 put into motion what would become decades of military effort, struggle, and sacrifice. 

American soldiers endured the constant threat of being struck by IEDs, experienced the loss of their fellow soldiers, and faced deployments lasting up to 15 months long. 

In the middle of such intense chaos, the need for restoration was evident. But how could that kind of renewal take place in the middle of such a harsh and hard-fought battlefield? 

Freedom Rest was the answer.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a great exchange took place – one that could be seen as a great display of redemption. 

A facility that had previously housed Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard became a resting place for American soldiers. It was described by the military as, “an oasis in the center of the Iraqi capital, helping soldiers escape the stress of life on the front lines of war. There, they could strip away their body armor, lock up their weapons and enjoy time off without leaving the theater of operations.”

Freedom Rest of Baghdad has since housed more than 35,000 soldiers – one being Army officer and Chaplain, Mike Smith. 

As an officer and chaplain, Smith would take small groups of soldiers to Freedom Rest. There, they could have space to rest and recover.

Part of this meant teaching them applicable tools on resiliency and how to get back into the fight mentally. Even more so – spiritually. 

After the war, Smith made up his mind that one day he would build another Freedom’s Rest. His desire has been to reach hurting soldiers and police officers – having been a former man in Blue himself.

This is the Freedom’s Rest we are today

Freedom’s Rest has identified “limited-access communities” that have a critical nature of need right here on the home front. 

Soldiers are dying by suicide. Police officers are facing more rejection and trauma than ever. First Responders answer the call for over 240 million 911 calls every year. Consequently, this is causing them to burn out at an alarming speed. 

The Freedom’s Rest Resiliency Training Center will be a world-class location in Tampa Bay, Florida that seeks to serve those who have served us: our nation’s heroes

As an organization, both current and former Special Operations, Soldiers, Police Officers, and Firefighters make up the majority of our staff.

Each are trained professionals who have been rescued from their own trauma and are locking arms to bring freedom to those in need. 

And now, we want you to be part of the mission as well.

Your generosity helps us put boots on the ground to serve those who have faithfully served us.

Together, we can bring this vision to life.

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