FEATURED /// Jun 11, 2021
Coastal Authority Care Foundation's Band Aid Music Festival
As our longtime Administrative Manager and new Facility Security Officer, Deborah Gries is always on the lookout for military-focused organizations who could use Atlantic Diving Supply’s charitable support. With June being PTSD Awareness Month, what better partnership than with an organization that works to help local members of the community with just that.
Deb never expected to find one of those organizations when she met Jill Crist through their childrens’ extracurriculars. Together, they hatched a plan, and several years later, Deb and Jill are still working together to make life better for local veterans and service members struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
After stepping down from her career at Wells Fargo, Jill struggled to find help for her husband, Brian, who is a retired US Navy SEAL. Even in a strong military community like Hampton Roads, treatment that actually helped was impossible to find. It’s hard enough for people to want to get help, Jill says, and spouses are often the ones pushing hardest for it, as TBI and PTSD not only affect the military member but the entire family. The Crists were no different, and they finally found help some 1300 miles away at the Carrick Institute in Texas. There, Brian started on the road to recovery, and Jill started thinking about creating a non-profit of her own to help others back home.
In 2015, she did just that, launching the Coastal Authority Care Foundation, a non-profit organization which works to restore quality of life to veterans with service-connected injuries, by providing grants to help with cutting-edge medical treatment costs at local Hampton Roads facilities.
Yet even though PTSD treatments work and can lead to a better quality of life, the social stigma that surrounds the issue, along with a lack of access to available care, keeps most PTSD sufferers from ever getting the help they need. In a region filled with combat veterans like Hampton Roads, Jill Crist and her Coastal Authority Care Foundation are driven to find help for the people here who need it. The National Center for PTSD at the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates that roughly 30% of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime. Additionally, the Center estimates that 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans, and up to 20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, have experienced PTSD in a given year.
Not long after the Foundation was created, Jill was at her son’s music lesson talking to Deb Gries. Eventually, their conversation turned to Deb’s work at ADS Inc. and Jill’s new Foundation, and before you know it, ADS was a proud sponsor of the Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year -- The Band Aid Music Festival.
Set for this Saturday, June 12th, from noon to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Trav-L Park in Virginia Beach, the Festival is expected to draw more than a thousand people for a day of friends, food, fun and live music from some of Hampton Roads' hottest bands. Proceeds go to CACF’s Medical Treatment Grant Program, which helps veterans with TBI & PTSD afford cutting-edge treatment.
Today, Jill and her Foundation focus on helping retired military service members get the treatment they need at Hampton Roads Hyperbaric Therapy, where her husband Brian has had follow-up treatment, and at Neucoa, home to Virginia’s first and only Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy brain treatment center. With one of the largest active duty and retired populations in the country, it is significant for Hampton Roads to have such an advanced local resource, Jill says.
Both centers have made lasting and important differences in the lives of local veterans and service members. They can even help with lodging and transportation costs for veterans traveling to Hampton Roads, sparing them the thousands of miles of travel Jill and Brian once endured to find help.
About 1,000 people are expected at the Band Aid Music Festival this Saturday, although the venue can hold several thousand. The more, the merrier. Tickets to the event are $55 online, $60 at the gate (Kids 10 and under are FREE!) and include entrance to the event, 1 meal Food ticket and 3 drink tickets. It would be great to see everyone out there! If you are interested in participating in this event in other ways, your donations, sponsorships, and volunteer aid are always welcome - find out more through the Foundation's website at https://cacarefoundation.org.