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Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans

Cycle for Sight

The 201 Cycle For Sight & Rotary Ride For Veterans charity bike ride takes place on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

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Primary Address:
The Pathway Home, Inc.
P.O. Box 3930
Yountville, CA 94599


The Yountville Bocce Club delivers a donation to The Martinez Post Deployment Assessment Treatment Program


Steve Orndorf fishing on the Napa River with Veterans from the Martinez Post Deployment Assessment Treatment Program

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Martinez Rotarians meet with Martinez Post Deployment Assessment Treatment Program


K&J Movers was instrumental in helping The Pathway Home in the aftermath of March 9th


Pathway Home board members proudly wear their Pathway Home jerseys at Rock the Ride in Yountville



PDAT is committed to continuing the relationship with Napa by bringing veterans to community events

Partnerships for Continued Commitment to Helping Veterans
As we begin 2019, we want to express our gratitude to all those who have supported the mission of The Pathway Home (TPH) over the past decade. As we have said many times before, we are undaunted in our commitment to helping veterans navigate the difficult pathway home. We are doing this by mobilizing the dedication, energy, and financial resources of hundreds of community members as we launch an important partnership with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).The Pathway Home has always worked in partnership with the VHA. Under The Pathway Home program, residents continued to receive healthcare services from the VHA. Before the tragedy of March 9th, we were in regular contact with the Northern California VA Healthcare System’s Outpatient Clinic in Martinez. The Martinez Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) is the home of a groundbreaking cognitive rehabilitation program called the Post Deployment Assessment and Treatment Program (PDAT). TPH has also worked closely with Keith Armstrong at the San Francisco VA Healthcare System. Armstrong helped to pioneer the Veterans Integration into Academic Leadership (VITAL) program, where VHA social workers help veterans succeed as they pursue their post-service education.

TPH has now formalized a partnership with the PDAT program to see this important mission continue. PDAT’s cognitive rehabilitation program serves veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who suffer from mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), PTSD, as well as chronic pain, substance abuse, and other service-related conditions. At PDAT, an interdisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, recreation therapists, social workers, pain management specialists and many others provide much needed care for our veterans. PDAT features a hybrid inpatient residential program combined with an innovative post-hospitalization community based transitional program, currently with eight subsidized apartments. The PDAT team helps veterans return to school, find employment, and reconnect with their families.

TPH’s partnership with PDAT is very exciting. Beginning in April, the Napa Rotary Club immediately established a relationship with PDAT to continue the community centered reintegration opportunities that made TPH so special. TPH has also helped develop relationships between PDAT’s Director, Jeffrey Kixmiller, Northern California VA Healthcare System’s Chief of Voluntary Services, Maria Almes, and veteran healthcare expert Suzanne Gordon, so that we can help communicate TPH’s strengths to our new friends at PDAT. Suzanne Gordon had already written about PDAT in her new book Wounds of War. Suzanne and TPH are working to educate communities throughout Northern California about veteran reintegration and veteran healthcare challenges. Those talks have been given to the Napa, Brentwood, and Martinez Rotary Clubs, with more talks planned for the future. Rotary has already pledged their support for PDAT, and the relationship is just getting started. Barbara Turcios, president of the Martinez Rotary Club, is championing this partnership and recruiting her members to work with veterans at PDAT.

Maria Almes has also been instrumental in communicating to TPH’s partners how to volunteer with veterans. The VA has established procedures where people can easily donate items to PDAT and make tax- deductible contributions to the program. People can contribute directly to veteran programs at the VA, without any of the support being used for administrative overhead. Contributions are not only tax deductible, but can be earmarked for specific purposes. Maria has also clarified the process through which people can become official VA volunteers and advocates.

After working with Maria, TPH has helped community members continue the community-focused model pioneered at The Pathway Home in Yountville. Jeffrey Kixmiller, and his assistant director, neuropsychologist Jim Muir, have hosted Rotarians and other community members at meetings and open houses hosted by PDAT.

Yountville residents have already provided meaningful support to PDAT. Steve Orndorf, a Napa Rotarian committed to helping struggling veterans, met with Dorothy Salmon and Martinez VA staff to determine how the area Rotary Clubs can best work together going forward.  Gary Agcaoili, Chief of Recreational Therapy and a team of recreational therapists will be key contacts to help organize outings between veterans and volunteers.

PDAT volunteers must be vetted, fingerprinted, and trained to work with sometimes fragile and vulnerable veterans. The VA and TPH are working to streamline this process to onboard potential volunteers as seamlessly as possible. These are critical steps to ensure the partnership is successful, and that veterans and volunteers both benefit.

PDAT staff have suggested that potential volunteers should first come and interact with veterans “on their turf” at PDAT. By getting to know each other, residents and volunteers establish trust and rapport before the veterans embark on off-premises activities with Rotary Club volunteers. The first such exchange was a dinner between Dorothy, Steve, and Suzanne with a few veterans in their comfortable clubhouse. On Wednesday, December 12th, Barbara Turcios brought several Martinez Rotarians and five Napa Rotarians to another dinner at PDAT, enjoying pizzas, salad and spaghetti. The Rotarians explained the goals of the partnership, expressed their dedication to helping veterans, and continued to build the relationship with PDAT.

As we move in to the New Year, we anticipate that PDAT and the community groups will continue the bowling, fishing, hiking and other recreational outings that TPH previously organized. TPH is trying to help PDAT recruit financial professionals and educators to help veterans with financial issues, life skills and housing planning, tutoring, and career advice.

On April 20th, over 2000 cyclists will attend the 12th Annual Cycle4Sight Rotary Ride for Veterans at Justin Siena High School in Napa. Representatives from PDAT and the VA will be there, along with dozens of veterans, as attendees from all over the country ride in the event and continue TPH’s important work.

In future letters, we will continue to update you on these exciting projects, as well as work TPH will follow at other VA programs. Our goal is to encourage many communities and their Rotary Clubs to learn how they too can help our returning veterans.


Dorothy Salmon
Chair, Board of Directors
The Pathway Home

The Pathway Home, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization [EIN 45-5350612] governed under Federal Statutes and the laws of the State of California.
Contributions may be considered tax-deductible as allowed by law.