➣ Opus Peace Founders
Deborah Grassman is a mental health Nurse Practitioner whose career at the Department of Veterans Affairs spanned nearly 30 years. She was the Director of the Hospice program and personally took care of more than 10,000 dying veterans. She is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts in caring for Veterans nearing the end of life. Deborah is most well-known for her pioneering Wounded Warriors: Their Last Battle presentation which was the first of its kind to identify the unique needs of Veterans as they age. In 2002, she introduced “pinning ceremonies” to honor dying veterans — a ceremony which has now become standard practice in hospices and long-term-care facilities throughout the nation. She is now CEO and co-founder of Opus Peace, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide programs that respond to the soul injury that occurs during trauma, abuse, self-neglect, and serious illness. Deborah has recently launched two campaigns, providing ceremonial workshops for:
*Soul Injury to bring attention and healing tools to the needs of our nation’s combat veterans who still carry unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt in the aftermath of war; and
*Soul Restoration to revitalize the weary hearts of personal and professional caregivers, including first responders, ER and hospice staff, chaplains, trauma and bereavement counselors.
Deborah is the author of two books: Peace at Last and The Hero Within. She is on the advisory boards for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross foundation and the Ira Byock PBS film project The Best Care Possible. Deborah’s contribution toward advancing End-of-Life care in this country is described by NHPCO on their website: “Deborah’s work has dramatically and almost single-handedly increased awareness of Veterans and their unique end-of-life issues. Additionally, her insights into the family’s experience offer perspectives for understanding how these experiences can impact on and often complicate grief and bereavement.”
Deborah’s book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans, is used by multiple agencies to learn about the effects of past trauma on the quality of a person’s dying process, the influence of the various cultures of war on dying veterans, stoicism, and warrior wisdom. Her book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill describes how to re-own and re-home pieces of self through the processes of abiding, reckoning, and beholding our interior hero. It is used by numerous agencies for staff development, team building, and personal growth. Book circles to promote healing using The Hero Within have developed throughout the country, as well as Veteran book circles that utilize Peace at Last.
Patricia McGuire is an ADEC-certified bereavement counselor specializing in grief and traumatic loss. Her career at the Department of Veterans Affairs lasted for nearly 20 years, where she was the Bereavement Coordinator. In this capacity, she provided 1:1 grief counseling, bereavement interventions for Veterans with PTSD, group counseling, Memorial services, and bereavement programs. Bereavement interventions that she has developed have been used extensively throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs system nationwide. She has also been an essential and integrative force in developing and supporting Deborah’s work.
To contact Deborah or Pat, email them at DeborahGrassman@OpusPeace.org. They are willing to dialogue with you about any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. They are available to provide input about clinical situations you may be dealing with or programmatic issues that your agency may have that relate to their field of expertise. They are also available to provide presentations, workshops, or retreats for agencies and groups. Additionally, they provide facilitation for The Hero Within book circles or Peace at Last veteran book circles. If you are interested in creating a book circle, e-mail them on this website. Also, contact them if you are interested in sponsoring a ceremonial workshop forSoul Injury to heal our nation’s combat veterans from the unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt they sometimes carry in the aftermath of war; or Soul Restoration to revitalize the weary hearts of personal and professional caregivers, including first responders, ER and Hospice staff, chaplains, bereavement and trauma counselors.