Hi this is your host, Pete Blum. Welcome to American Heroes Network! Our core mission is Serving the Brave Men and Women who have Sacrificed to Ensure our Freedom. You will hear true stories from those that have served, learn about Veteran organizations and resources, and gain hope for your future knowing American Heroes Network, your community, and other Veterans are here and at the ready to serve and help you and your family. We will talk about the hard topics like PTSD/TBI. You will also hear military history, inspirational stories, learn about networking with the community, and more. So come join us and be part of our family.
Today’s guest is an Army Combat Veteran who suffered severe injury due to an IED in Iraq. He transformed his life to serve in another way and helps veterans both physically and mentally. He is the Director of Warriors Speak at Wounded Warrior Project, and the Founder of the Warrior Spirit Retreat. I would like to welcome Dan Nevins.
You can follow Dan here
Websites: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ and http://www.dannevins.com/ and https://www.warriorspiritretreat.org/
LinikedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wounded-warrior-project/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/dannevins/
Faceook: https://www.facebook.com/wwp and https://www.facebook.com/thedannevins
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wwp/ and https://www.instagram.com/dannevins/
Dan thank you for serving and how are you doing today?
So both you and I have a passion for helping veterans!
Dan lost both legs below the knee and lives with a traumatic brain injury and the emotional wounds of war. Dan discovered the life-changing power of yoga, which has enabled him to heal from the invisible wounds of war in a way that nothing else could. He quickly realized that other wounded warriors could benefit from yoga in the same way and knew he had to become an instructor.
Tell us about joining and what you did in the military Dan.
I joined out of high school and started as a paratrooper.
February 2004 when Dan deployed to Balad, Iraq, as a squad leader. Later that year, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath his vehicle, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the amputation of his left leg below the knee. After several years of recurring infections and countless surgeries, Dan chose to surgically remove his right leg as well, making him a bilateral amputee.
Transition from the military for you was unexpected and must have been incredibly hard for you, can you tell us about that time?
Dan spent 18 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in recovery. In his first days there, he received a backpack from Wounded Warrior Project, a care package that would greatly impact his personal and professional life. Following medical retirement in 2006, Dan relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, where he joined the staff of the PGA TOUR.
What were some of the challenges you faced in returning to civilian life and how did you end up working for the PGA Tour?
Tell us about Wounded Warrior Project and how you personally got involved with them, what was in that backpack they gave you at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
I am a huge fan of Wounded Warrior Project and I know several people that work there in Florida, either at the headquarters in Jacksonville or the office in Tampa, which I was able to visit when they hosted IVMF’s Onward To Opportunity program that I was part of.
You must be a big fan as well as you eventually joined their team and have worked in several positions, but before that you received their highest award, the George C. Lang Award for Courage. Tell us about that.
So Dan I think everyone knows about how Wounded Warrior Project gets Wounded Warriors out of the house and into the community where they can interact with each other at amazing events, but there is so much more to what they do at Wounded Warrior Project. First tell us what are the requirements to be part of the program?
Now let’s talk about the rest of the amazing programs that Wounded Warrior Project has that people don’t know about since they don’t get the same visibility as the others. Let’s start with the well know Veteran Outreach Program where veterans meet at events and enjoy some great activities.
Combat Stress Recovery Program, Project Odyssey, and the Warrior Care Network
Physical Health and Wellness
Warriors to Work
Dan aside from everything you do with WWP you also started in yoga and now teach yoga, tell us about that
Also tell us about Warrior Spirit Retreat
Set on a serene organic family farm in St. Augustine, Florida, the holistic retreat will offer a curriculum centered on yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and will be free of charge to veterans and their families.
What action items would you give transitioning Veterans in order to be successful?
Where can people find you if they want to reach out?
Dan Nevins is a professional speaker who has been inspiring audiences around the world with his message of perseverance, resiliency and hope for more than a decade, and has been featured on the Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, BuzzFeed, Fox News, CBS News and ABC News among others.
A highly decorated soldier, Dan was severely injured during combat in Iraq in 2004 after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath his vehicle. He lost both legs below the knee and lives with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the emotional wounds of war.
Dan credits Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) with his successful rehabilitation, which instilled a “can-do” attitude, positive outlook, and passion for helping his fellow wounded warriors in him. He quickly became an advocate for the organization, inspiring both his peers and the public to create positive change for themselves and those around them, simply by sharing his powerful story. Dan’s charismatic personality and relatable, lively approach resonated with audiences of all shapes and sizes, and he soon found himself sharing his story with hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
In 2008, Dan received WWP’s highest honor, the George C. Lang Award for Courage, for his efforts on behalf of the organization. He went on to become the director of WWP’s Warriors Speak program, where he taught other wounded warriors and their caregivers how to share their stories with the public and serve as spokespeople for the organization, much like he had.
In 2014, Dan discovered the life-changing power of yoga and meditation, which has enabled him to heal from the invisible wounds of war in a way that nothing else could. He quickly realized that other wounded warriors could benefit from yoga in the same way and knew he had to become an instructor. Dan began teaching yoga in 2015 and is now a Tier 3 Certified Baptiste Yoga Influencer. Dan incorporates the notion of “yoga for every-body” into his speeches and classes, encouraging people from all walks of life – and veterans in particular – to take up the practice.
Word of Dan’s efforts spread quickly, and he has been invited to teach yoga throughout the world, from the White House in Washington, DC to deployed service members in the Middle East as well as Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi, Kenya. Nowadays, when he’s not leading classes for hundreds of participants, Dan can usually be found sharing his passion for life, WWP, yoga and his fellow wounded warriors with the attendees of major events ranging from the Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Stadium of Fire at BYU Stadium to the Wisdom 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
Dan is continuously searching for new ways to help other veterans. He is passionate about his work with Wounded Warrior Project and Warrior Spirit Retreat, a non-profit that he founded, which empowers warriors to greater possibilities by providing them with new tools for healing from the invisible wounds of war. The holistic retreats offer a curriculum centered on yoga, mindfulness and meditation, and are free of charge to veterans.
Dan is an incredible storyteller who integrates his own powerful and impactful story into a customized keynote or workshop that will inspire your organization with his message of perseverance, resiliency and hope. Dan’s Speaker Reel
Thank you for listening!