Message from the President & Founder
Dear Friends of our Military,
Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about me and Operation120. My name is Renette Verhaeghe (Ver-hey-ge) and I am the proud founder of Operation120, striving to help female military veterans in Palm Beach County with the unique challenges they face and the support they desperately need. I hope the following will give you an idea of who I am, what I am trying to achieve and why.
I wish I could meet and introduce myself to everyone who decides to read about Operation120. I am hoping that the following will help you understand how I have centered my life around charitable pursuits and a glimpse into what compels me to do so without compromise. For me, “giving is receiving”, I go with what catches my heart. Often with tears in my eyes, the limitless joy I feel from giving so little, is beyond words.
I have read that there are three main things that are key to living a happy life. The bonding we feel from our close relationships, a career or life-pursuit that we enjoy, and … giving-back by helping others. I was lucky enough to grasp that last concept from an early age. For me, like a knock at the door I feel compelled to answer, I have been drawn to philanthropy in the form of helping children, families, and animals throughout my life, starting in my early twenties. When I learned of the desperate life many female military veterans face upon their return stateside, and returning to civilian life, I did not hesitate to start Operation120.
My research and work prioritizing the needs for female military veterans has determined a few main areas to address. First, and foremost, the need for supportive housing. In discussions with key veteran administrators of West Palm Beach, I learned of female military veterans in Palm Beach County and the Tri-Counties who are sleeping in their cars and given a sleeping bag to go and sleep on the beach or under a bridge! Female military veterans return from active duty with Military Sexual Trauma/MST, Post-Traumatic Stress/PTS and substance abuse issues. Perhaps because of the much larger percentage of male veterans, to the relatively small and shorter length of active service of female military veterans, their unique challenges and needs are not being dealt with. Female Veteran Only housing is non-existent in Palm Beach County, one of the richest counties in Florida. Operation120 strives to evolve the Female Veteran Only housing into housing for moms and children. We will also help provide female military veterans with food, clothing, household goods and propel them toward sustained self-reliance through education, job-training and employment support. Therapy and medical intervention, to relieve symptoms of their PTSD and MST, will also have to be a key part of their rehabilitation.
Not one to mince words, our success is ONLY possible with the generous financial support and assistance of like-minded, charitable members of our community. I know I will not sleep well until all female military veterans in Palm Beach County, and their children, have a safe place to live and are on a path to living an independent life with confidence and pride. We can do this … the seeds are planted, we just need to help them grow into a beautiful garden!
JOIN US AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE YOU CAN BE PROUD OF….
Renette Verhaeghe, Founder & President