Beanstalk Foundation

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Project Sanctuary

Reconnecting Military Families

Heather Ehle’s Project Sanctuary helps military families stick together and grow stronger

Heather Ehle's Project Sanctuary understands that everyone in a military family serves... even if they aren’t deployed. Project Sanctuary works to reunite and strengthen military families through therapeutic retreats that also reintegrate them into their communities through education, innovative services, and supportive follow through. Retreats include family activities like Hiking, Boating, Swimming, Horseback Riding, Whitewater Rafting, Fishing, Campfire Cookouts, Archery, ATV Riding, Skiing, Ice Skating, Snowmobiling and more. Retreats also include “Healthy Marriage” and “Money Matters, Family Matters” classes that can help military families cope with the stresses they’ve been under and learn new techniques for managing their lives. And all of it is free. Since its founding in 2007, hundreds of families have attended Project Sanctuary retreats. Remarkably, 90% of spouses remain married. Even more inspiring, no participating military family members have committed suicide. (As of 2012, 1 in 5 suicides in the United States is a military veteran.)

Serving those who serve

Heather Ehle nurses military families to health through support and removing stigma

Heather Ehle knew right away that she wanted to help people. It was no surprise that Heather found her calling in bringing the sick back to health as a Registered Nurse. For 20 years, her electric smile, positive attitude and world-class bedside manner simply wowed and joyed hundreds of patients back to health. (She’ll tell you modern medicine and doctors helped too, but that’s just her being modest.) Heather has the drive to make people better. It’s innate. It’s special.

 
Family drives her, too, and Heather gets potent motivation from her 3 children (two adopted). The wonderful kids give her an amazing, young group to wow, to nurture, and to support. They also give her a window into more ways to help, which may just be her favorite thing to search out.
 
During the late 2000s Heather began reading about military families. She learned about the impact of deployment, the long-term stress that service has, and how rates of abuse relate to a lack of programs available to help military families. It was through articles and interviews that Heather came to the essential conclusion: In a military family, the whole family serves, not just the deployed serviceman or servicewoman.
 

Back to Health

Being apart, Heather Ehle discovered, puts great stress on military families. Raising children alone, fearing for your spouse’s life... or being in the field, missing your loved ones and having unparalleled experiences, simply changes people. It’s a complex issue, and one that is difficult for families to talk about. Beyond that, military families just aren’t having the same experiences as typical American families. Children are without a parent. And when a deployed spouse returns, things are not the same. The problems are unique. They need a unique solution.
 
In Heather Ehle’s lifelong quest to make people better, she decided to put her incredible love into helping military families heal, reintegrate and stick together. She started Project Sanctuary to positively impact military families, by ending abuse, improving communication, and setting families--off-kilter due to their unique sacrifice--right again. Heather Ehle deserves a massive salute. She’s a helluva nurse. She’s a wonderful mother. She’s a fine guardian angel for the families that serve our country.
 

Awards and Honors

2012
  • “Joining Forces Community Challenge” Winner (White House)
  • Aurora Chamber of Commerce “Woman of the Year” nominee:  Heather Ehle
 
2011
  • United Veterans Committee of Colorado’s “Outstanding Organization of the Year”
 
2010
  • Newman’s Own Awards winner
  • People Magazine “All-Stars Among Us” nominee:  Heather Ehle