Crush Isolation

Isolation is a growing problem among veterans and first responders. Following a traumatic event, or when their active service is over, depression may set in, and there are days you don’t want to get out of bed, let alone go out and socialize with strangers. On the other hand, maybe you’re a veteran or first responder with mobility issues, and you’d like some company, but you physically have trouble getting around. Either way, isolation breeds loneliness, which can lead to significant mental and physical problems. 

Fortunately, there is a nonprofit organization out there devoted to combating this potentially crippling problem in various on and offline programs. Project Refit is dedicated to providing resources and building a community through innovative initiatives. Let’s explore what Project Refit offers for veterans and first responders alike.

Law enforcement officers enjoy some free time with the guys from Project Refit.

Why “Refit”?

Refit (verb): a restoration or repair

To “refit” in military terms is to regroup at your FOB (Forward Observation Base), clean your vehicles, restock inventory, and prepare for your next mission. It is a time to rebuild, restore and renew. Project Refit has a simple but powerful mission to combat isolation. We accomplish that mission by building a unique community program for veterans, first responders, and their families.

We are somewhat unique in that we will show up to events and places where our target audience is or wishes to be. We can even bring the healing to you via our Mobile Base! If you are a veteran who would love some company and a fireside chat brought you to the tri-state area of NJ/DE/PA, contact us. We may be able to make it happen!

Online Program: Radio Check Buddy Check-in Program

Project Refit’s online resource, the Radio Check Buddy Check-in Program, was designed to provide veterans and first responders with an easy way to check in with fellow unit members. This program helps create a sense of community for those who may be feeling isolated by allowing them to connect digitally. It also enables Project Refit staff members to monitor how participants are faring emotionally and mentally after events or deployments and provide extra support when needed.

Representing Project Refit during a Spartan race. A great way to blow off some steam!

Offline Programs: Mobile Base & Retreats

The Mobile Base is a badass truck pulling a badass trailer outfitted like a lounge, operating as a VFW on wheels. Check out the pic at the beginning of this story. Our mobile base travels nationwide, hosting events that bring together veterans and first responders from all over a sizable geographic area. The idea behind these events is to build camaraderie and foster meaningful relationships between those who have served our country in various ways.

Refit also hosts multiple retreats for veterans and first responders throughout the year. These mental health retreats focus on uniting individuals within like communities. Participants engage in activities (such as fishing or horseback riding) during the day and have fireside chats at night, where they can feel free to chat in a judgment-free atmosphere. During these retreats, attendees can talk about their individual experiences while receiving emotional support from those who understand what they have gone through—something that can be difficult, if not impossible, for many to do alone. Retreats are getting an upgrade this year, too. Stay tuned. 

Reunion Retreats

After a good bit of brainstorming and listening to our members’ feedback, we recognized a significant problem in the veteran space. Veterans often have a sizable geographical separation from their brothers and sisters. So if you are a vet and miss your old warrior buddies, we will fund three-day weekend retreats to get you back together again. 

We fund these retreats by hosting events, selling gear, and through the generous gifts of monthly donors. This allows us to keep providing these much-needed services free of charge

Never take life too seriously. It’s all about bonding and relaxation. Project Refit fosters plenty of both.

Funding: Events & Gear Sales

Project Refit funds these retreats by hosting events, selling cool gear such as t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc., and using monthly donations from our network of generous supporters. This year’s big event is a first-of-its-kind Tattoo Convention focused on veterans and first responders called “Project Refit Tattoo Convention: Stories of Blood and Ink,” which will take place in October 2023! SOFREP’s own Guy McCardle has pledged to show up and catch some ink, so be sure to stop by and say “hi.” 

Attendees of this convention will enjoy activities such as tattoo competitions for artists and participants and stories shared about the experiences of those who served. We aim to get sponsors from local and national businesses! If you want to be a sponsor, volunteer, or participant, please check out the form here. Tattoo artists will also have the chance to go through a 1-hour active listening course and become a Project Refit Tattoo shop. It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. Mark your calendar!

We at Project Refit work hard each day towards our mission of uniting veterans and first responders to combat isolation using both online programs like its Radio Check Buddy Check-in program as well as offline initiatives, including our Mobile Base events and Retreats, which are funded through hosting events; selling gear; and monthly donors. This year’s big event—the Project Refit Tattoo Convention: Stories of Blood & Ink—will take place in October 2023! Join us at this unique gathering where we unite through artistry, music performances sponsored by local businesses, activities (tattoo competitions!), fellowship…and stories of blood & ink!

Join us—we can’t wait to see you there!

Also, please consider supporting a fireteam by becoming a monthly donor today!

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James Corbett is a civilian and co-founder of Project Refit. He is an entrepreneur, marketer, tech guru, designer, and proud husky dad. If you’re interested in helping with or attending the Tattoo Convention, please get in touch with James at [email protected] If you are interested in our reunion retreat program, please get in touch with  TJ Sykes, Army Combat veteran and Board Advisor at Project Refit [email protected]