Post-9/11 Vets Find Support through It’s About the Warrior Foundation
Oct 31, 2019 01:36PM
By Kathleen Ganster
There are many organizations that assist veterans in various ways, but It’s About the Warrior Foundation (IATW) is a bit different than most—the nonprofit serves post-9/11 veterans from the tri-state region.
“The amount of post-9/11 veterans that we have in our area—approximately 28,000—is one of the highest in the country. It made sense for us to help them,” said IATW founder and CEO Steve Monteleone.
IATW started as a simple fundraising event in 2012: a golf tournament at the Olde Stonewall Golf Club that Monteleone and his friends organized to benefit the Injured Semper Fi Fund.
“Then we got to thinking, why not keep most of the money locally? With so many veterans here, we reevaluated and decided to focus on our area,” explained Monteleone. “The time and dedication that they have spent for our country—we should want to help them.”
Monteleone himself is a veteran, serving for seven years with the U.S. Air Force.
IATW focuses on veterans from the Greater Pittsburgh area and offers several outreach programs to assist post-9/11 veterans and their families from its Wexford office. Their services range from assisting veterans in finding the physical and mental health therapeutic services they may need, to outreach programming including sports and outdoor activities. They also attend social events such as concerts, Steelers, Pirates and Penguins games with fellow veterans.
The process for post-9/11 veterans to get involved with IATW is simple—they just need to visit the website and register. Once registered, they can call IATW to receive assistance with programming and medical services.
Under the direction of Dr. Thomas Burnett, MD, and a physiatrist, medical services are offered through IATW’s Wexford office. A combat veteran himself, Dr. Burnett works with IATW veterans one-on-one.
According to Monteleone, IATW has partnered with Dr. Burnett to provide the integration of float pods, biofeedback, IV therapy, trigger point therapy, class IV lasers, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and ozone therapy in conjunction with stem cell and regenerative medicine procedures to assist IATW veterans.
“We are currently the only ones in our area that offer these services for our veterans,” Monteleone said.
Many of the IATW veterans enjoy camaraderie through its sporting and outdoor programming. The IATW Warthog Ice Hockey team is well-known in the amateur hockey club arena, and IATW also offers softball, archery, golfing and other sports. Outdoor programming includes hunting, fishing and camping outings. The organization partners with dozens of other local organizations and companies to provide these services.
While the organization is still small--Monteleone is the only paid staff member—it serves approximately 250 veterans per year and reaches thousands of others through its programming and events.
“There are so many veterans in this area that this resource is needed,” said Monteleone. “The VA is overwhelmed, and we provide services that they don’t provide.”
IATW hosts several events each year that not only serve as fundraisers, but provide additional opportunities for veterans to meet with fellow veterans and supporters. These events also serve to raise awareness and educate others to the challenges that veterans may face.
And yes, IATW still hosts that signature golf tournament at the Olde Stonewall Golf Club. “It’s become so well-known, we have to have it,” Monteleone said.
For more information, including how to register for services, visit: https://iatw.us or call 724-712-3261.