Homefront Help: Operation Mend
Military members injured in combat who need reconstructive limb or face surgery, or help overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder, can take advantage of Operation Mend's treatment and follow-up support to find the care they need. The partnership is an effort among the Ronald Reagan University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, the San Antonio Military Medical Center (formerly Brooke Army Medical Center) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Procedures and counseling are provided at the UCLA facility, which U.S. News and World Report ranked as one of the top five hospitals in the country on its 2010 honor roll. Warfighters are encouraged to bring loved ones along and are requested to have at least one person accompany them to assist after surgery and through recovery. UCLA representatives meet patients at the airport and provide transportation to the on-campus Tiverton House, where patients and families reside during the process. The services are available to anyone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Operation Mend has procedures and agreements in place to cover costs so patients never pay for treatment. The organization's website has more information about the project including how to determine eligibility, photos, videos and stories about current patients. Anyone who wants to learn more about volunteering or donating also can find more information online. People who reside in the Los Angeles area can take part in the Operation Mend Buddy Family program, which matches Operation Mend participants with families who live close to UCLA and can provide extra comfort, care and fun for wounded warriors and their loved ones.