News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Mission 22 offers recovery to veterans

Former Green Beret Magnus Johnson, who founded Mission 22 in 2013, has a theory about factors likely contributing to the high rate of suicide among veterans:

“When the demand to serve is removed, we must reevaluate who and what we were and are. When meaningful, mutually appreciated service is lost from our lives, our sense of personal worth is, too… The actual cause of suicide is not participating in combat alone. It is its lack of meaning to our civilian counterparts. Humans have been fighting wars since the dawn of time. War itself is not the catalyst of despair; it is a life devoid of meaning and purpose.”

Mission 22 has created comprehensive treatment programs for post traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their programs are designed around the individual in treatment, to create a program that meets a person’s unique needs for healing. Mission 22 also partners with organizations to fund treatment. Those partner organizations specialize in PTS, TBI, substance abuse, and all of the issues faced by veterans today.

The Recovery and Resiliency program (R+R) was developed by Mission 22 for combat veterans, those who were injured and therefore couldn’t deploy, and those who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST). The program seeks to synthesize the most scientifically backed and time-honored trauma-recovery process into a single, cohesive, cohort-based platform. While other PTS recovery protocols focus on just one or two areas of recovery, R+R respects the fact that healing from combat stress is not a simple matter of chemistry.

Their website explains, “Recovery from war requires input from the soldier’s community at home, nutritional support, spiritual healing, and physical renewal. The veteran is equally as valued at home as they were in combat, yet this journey home has been taken for granted by society, leading to unacceptable rates of veterans losing their sense of purpose, losing their sense that they belong in the home front.

“This 12-month program is the catalyst for taking deep scars suffered for our nation’s sake and turn them into opportunities,” the website continues. “It directs God-given purpose as a protector toward a refreshed meaning and purpose. Every resource included in R+R, from cutting-edge biometric tools to science-based supplements, has been curated to enable participants to realize their worth as a Warrior at home, to fully equip them to thrive in their community, and to heal united.”

R+R participants meet in video chats. Each individual does their work online and at home. They each have their own coach who checks in with them weekly. Contact is available by phone, text message, and Zoom. The veterans are encouraged to tell their stories as a way to heal. They learn to redefine what’s important.

“They come to us when they have no more room in their cup to cope. They are maxed out. Our R+R program gives them the capacity to do more,” explained Mission 22 CEO Sara Johnson, wife of founder Magnus Johnson.

Each participant in the 12-month program receives a Garmin watch that tracks their resting heart rate and other body functions. Through improved diet, regular exercise, readings on trauma, and stress-reduction techniques, their capacity for dealing with life increases. At the end of 12 months, there is a year’s worth of data available on each participant.

Eighty participants have been helped this year. They are forecasting adding 200-300 more participants next year. It costs approximately $10,000 a year per participant and there is no charge to them. Mission 22 conducts direct fundraising to support their programs. Their budget this year is between five and six million dollars.

Another program offered by Mission 22 is the Mission 22 Wellness Program in which Mission 22 has partnered with Amare to provide free mental wellness supplements to R+R participants. These supplements have been clinically proven to alleviate tensions, fatigue, confusion, and anger by more than 40 percent.

Mission 22 and The Warrior’s Way are partnering to provide rock-climbing mental-training programs for veterans and their families to diminish veteran suicide rates and build resilient families.

They also offer three-month sponsorships to gyms that provide crossfit training, Brazilian jiu jitsu, or judo for any veteran in the program who qualifies and has a financial hardship need, as well as stand-alone gym sponsorships to veterans who are not able to afford them.

Mission Troopers Equine Program for children and grandchildren of veterans (see story page 1) is offered at the Johnsons’ farm in Sisters.

Launching soon will be two new six-month programs, one for veterans in general and one for spouses of veterans.

Mission 22 moved their national headquarters to Sisters just about a year ago. They run their equine program out of the farm located on Perit Huntington Road, and their office will soon be at the FivePine Station building on the FivePine campus.

The original registered 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to healing American veterans is called ElderHeart Inc., doing business as Mission 22. Mission 22’s Federal ID number for donations is 46-2750726.

For more information on any of the Mission 22 programs, or to volunteer, contact [email protected] or call the main office Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 503-908-8505.


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