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U.S. Army Specials Forces Veteran & Co-founder of Warrior Hearts Shares How the Tenacity He Learned in the Military Gave Him Strength on His Road to Recovery and Inspired Warriors Heart

Taking care of your mind, body and spirit needs to be a top priority, which is at the core of the Warriors Heart program. It’s what we do in the military, and it’s what we do now. If I didn’t  take care of myself, then I would let my team down. I didn’t let the team […]

Taking care of your mind, body and spirit needs to be a top priority, which is at the core of the Warriors Heart program. It’s what we do in the military, and it’s what we do now. If I didn’t  take care of myself, then I would let my team down. I didn’t let the team down back then, and I sure won’t do it now. 

Tom Spooner’s service to our Nation in the U.S. Army spanned nearly 21 years (1990-2011). As Former Special Forces and Warriors Heart Co-Founder, he is now dedicated to healing his fellow warriors struggling with chemical dependencies, PTSD, mild TBI and other recurring issues. Spooner also faced TBI after a combat injury, which lead himto look for solutions. Tom Spooner’s career included time in the 82nd Airborne, as a Green Beret in the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Group and, ultimately, in the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta as an Operator. Spooner joined forces with successful treatment providers Josh and Lisa Lannon to open Warriors Heart in 2016.  

Warriors Heart is the first and only private and accredited treatment program in the U.S. for “warriors only” (military, veterans, first responders and EMTs/paramedics) that helps American Warriors struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as other recurring issues. Tom built a “training program” approach to residential treatment that helps our protectors overcome the stigma and shame of asking for help. Warriors Heart is a 543-acre ranch outside San Antonio, Texas, which many alumni say is the “complete opposite of a hospital”. Since retiring from the military in 2011, Tom has successfully enabled thousands of military and law enforcement personnel to acknowledge their struggles, seek treatment, and, more importantly, to understand that they are not alone. 

What was your experience in the military?

My 21-year military service (1990-2011) to our Nation included time in the 82nd Airborne as a Green Beret, in the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group and, and ultimately, in the elite U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta as a Delta Force Operator. 

My military career included 40 months combat deployments, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. After retiring from the Army, I approached my struggles with self-medication, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with the same tenacity and commitment to excellence that I did while serving in the military. In order to help my fellow warriors, I began speaking candidly about the repercussions and realities of war. I re-dedicated my professional efforts to healing the warrior community struggling with suicide and addiction.

Tell us about your transition from military to civilian life?

A major part of my transition from military to civilian life has been impacted by being in recovery since I was 22 years old. I’ve been practicing the 12 steps for over 27 years now.  As a result of my military experience and personal healing, I’ve dedicated my life to helping my peers heal. The process of the 12 steps has assisted in overcoming chemical dependencies and process trauma in a spiritual way. After retiring from the military, I also discovered that I have mild TBI. As a result, I starting using GPS navigation apps to get home and searched for treatments. As part of my healing, I went to the Brain Treatment Center in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas twice, which was absolutely life-changing. My quality of life increased by 30%, for which I am grateful. As I understand how important it is to be taking care of the troops’ health and welfare, Warriors Heart provides me with the bigger mission and purpose that I needed. Today, I’m still in the fight to help fellow warriors win their “War At Home”. And I am grateful to have and love my family. They provide me with a life purpose to be a good husband and a good father.

What is your business and what do you do?

Warriors Heart is the first and only private and accredited residential treatment center in the U.S. for “warriors only” struggling with chemical dependencies, PTSD, mild TBI and other recurring issues. A “warrior” is defined as anyone who faces life and death as a profession, which includes active duty, military, veterans, first responders, law enforcement, EMS, emergency room, and others. April 2020 was Warriors Heart four-year anniversary for being licensed and open for clients. Since opening in 2016, we’ve had 964 warriors come through the 42-day program at our 543-acre ranch just outside San Antonio, Texas. As a Warriors Heart Co-Founder, my job now is to teach peers what I’ve learned and help them heal and rebuild their lives. As a team, Warriors Heart has built a training program approach that has been recognized globally as a thought leader and paradigm shift in the recovery industry and warrior community.

What are 3 things you learned in the military that you have applied to your business? 

Warriors Healing Warriors – We’ve learned that we Heal the same way we got wounded – together. Many were wounded emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, during combat. We are now healing together by taking care of each other. When warriors come to Warriors Heart, the team meets them and says “Welcome Home”. We all know what it feels like to be physically home, but not really Home. At Warriors Heart, we come all the way Home.

Strength Through Healing –  Taking care of your mind, body and spirit needs to be a top priority, which is at the core of the Warriors Heart program. It’s what we do in the military, and it’s what we do now. If I didn’t  take care of myself, then I would let my team down. I didn’t let the team down back then, and I sure won’t do it now. 

Join a Team with Similar Values – To be successful in business, you want to surround yourself with like-minded people that believe in the same Mission. At Warriors Heart, we all have the same values and goals. Everyone on the team has a direct or personal relationship with a warrior. We’re grateful to have Warriors Heart Co-Founders Josh and Lisa Lannon as partners and friends, along with our families being close. 

How have you used your success to send the ladder back down? 

When I was on my own before Warriors Heart, there was only a certain amount of people that I could touch.  However, when I met Josh and Lisa Lannon at a YPO (Young Presidents Organization) event while conducting tactical training, we connected. After some talks, I found out the Lannons were also passionate about helping this population. It seemed only natural to join forces and build Warriors Heart. The thing is, now, together, we can now pay-it-forward with a much broader reach. I personally would have never been able to impact as many people without this team and organization of many talented and amazing people. Warriors Heart has also gone on to launch Warriors Heart Foundation and Warriors Anonymous (W.A.) to pay-it-forward. The Foundation provides hardship scholarships and other services for warriors in financial need. W.A. is a sanctioned 12-step specialty group with A.A. meetings for “warriors” at a peer-to-peer level to share and heal anywhere in the world, face-to-face or online from any device. 

Where can readers find you on social media?

Follow us @1FactFinder and @WarriorsHeart

https://www.instagram.com/1factfinder/
https://www.facebook.com/warriorsheart/
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