Sunday, June 14, 2015

Caregiving is what Faun believes she was born to do. A mother herself, during a five-year period Faun was also a foster mother to twenty children, two of whom she adopted. Her youngest daughter was born prematurely with severe medical issues and required two open heart surgeries. Faun had already been deep into a world of caregiving, learning new medical terminology and scheduling endless appointments, when she became a caregiver again, this time to her husband and former Army Sgt. Danny O’Neel.

Faun met Danny in 2011 during a period in which they were both searching for answers. In 2008, after two tours in Iraq with heavy combat, Danny had traded military life for civilian life, but had trouble coping under his then undiagnosed post-traumatic stress and moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. Once their paths crossed, it didn’t take long for Faun to recognize Danny needed treatment to address issues stemming from combat. With no experience with the military or the VA, and having a husband with 100 percent permanent and total disability, Faun relied on grit and determination to find a better way, a better life for their family.

Both are now dedicated to helping other vets heal and currently care for two veterans living in their home as they recover. Danny provides encouragement and support as the vets they help go through deeply emotional parts of treatment. Faun brings her now vast knowledge of the VA, resources and connections to help vets get the treatment and resources they need. She also serves as a mentor for the VA’s Caregiver Support Program. Both are grateful and excited to be accepted as Dole Caregiver Fellows and work together to support military caregivers and the loved ones they serve.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: A Month Long Salute to Wounded Warrior Caregivers

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