REFUGIO – Camaraderie: the warm feelings of friendship, closeness and loyalty shared among a group of people.
The brotherhood of camaraderie is missed when veterans re-enter the civilian world. This can be a particularly difficult time for those who have lasting effects of injuries sustained during their tour. Many struggle with post traumatic stress disorder.
Christian Warriors Retreat is a non-denominational 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian ministry that restores some of the lost camaraderie while promoting spiritual and emotional healing through Jesus Christ.
Through this organization veterans, first responders and their families can maintain a connection with those who are facing the same experiences and struggles.
CWR originated in Victoria in 2013. The organization’s headquarters are in Yoakum.
The membership consisted of veterans only until 2019 when first responders, including firefighters and law enforcement, were added. In the future, those in the medical profession may also be included. The group’s membership is made up of people from San Antonio to Corpus Christi.
CWR hosts approximately five retreats annually. Included are the CWR Men’s Retreat CWR Females’ Retreat and the Warriors’ Wives Retreat.
CWR members know the importance of including the families of veterans and first responders because they, too, face specific struggles that others don’t have or understand.
The retreats, held from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon, are more than just annually events.
The mission of CWR is for veterans and first responders to find healing and regain purpose in life, relationships and self through Jesus Christ.
The retreats form a community of friends with year-round contact and support for one another.
No matter what a member is going through, he or she knows that there is someone who understands, cares and is there for them.
Refugio native, Brock Paris, is the assistant spiritual director of CWR. He enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and, while serving in Afghanistan, suffered a life threatening head injury.
“When I was medically discharged I struggled to reconnect with the ‘civi’ population until I found this veteran retreat, CWR. This group, team, this family saved my life,” said Paris.
When asked what he would like the public to know about CWR, spiritual director Dan Pooley said, “The CWR community provides a Christian environment that promotes healing through Jesus Christ.
“We offer more than a retreat experience; we are a community that does life together because we understand that by design we are not meant to do life alone.
“We believe that everyone is created with a purpose, and when folks become broken, they lose sight of that purpose.
“Through Christian principles, we seek healing in order to restore men and women to their intended and whole self so that they, too, can join an army of believers that offers light into the dark areas of people’s lives.
“We are a community that knows too well that on average there are 22 veteran suicides on any given day.
“We understand that we are in this fight one person, one soul at a time. Whether we swore an oath for military service or as a first responder, our common bond is the willingness to serve others.
“Our country needs men and women to rise and fight a new battle, and we pray that you will join us.”
The next men’s retreat is scheduled for Nov. 5-8 at the El Shaddai Retreat Center in Yorktown.
CWR will hold a fundraiser from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 20, in the front of Village Pharmacy in Refugio. Plates consisting of barbecue chicken, sausage, beans and rice and a drink will be available for $10.
“All funds go to the retreat and to help fly out of state veterans in to attend,’ said Paris.
Those with questions about the fundraiser can contact Brock Paris at 361-543-6124.