Building a Brand: The Clear Path Story Part 3

Written by Melissa Spicer, Co-Founder and Board Member of Clear Path for Veterans

While building our grassroots Board of Directors,  we invited Oren Lyons to join the Board of Directors. Oren is the Faithkeeper of the Haudenosaunee (six nations of the Iroquois) and an expert in Native American spirituality. A Veteran himself, he understood the historical significance of our property and how its natural beauty would help restore our Veterans.  He accepted our invitation to serve and eventually shared traditions of the warrior culture that became the centerpiece of our model. 

Native American philosophy became a frequent reference, especially relating to the making and calling of a warrior and how to help them complete their life cycle. Concepts like “The Good Red Road” resonated with us, and one Code of Ethics was a catalyst to creating our name. It reads, “Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your path and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Another impactful quote read, "The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity." ~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota

These age-old traditions of treating the soul's wounds seemed to fit with what we were trying to accomplish. Helping Veterans find their path was a critical first step to a healthy return home. By investing in their well-being, we quickly learned that we were making our communities stronger.

One morning after waking up to a clear blue sky, a name and logo content came to my sister Melinda, whose family had a personal relationship with Oren. Although Oren was a world traveler, he stays true to his roots and close to the earth. Many times, on a beautiful clear day, Oren has said, "It’s a good day to die – a clear path to the Creator."  This statement referenced a natural and necessary transition, a new journey not intended to be morbid. As the three co-founders agreed, a path or road is essential to our name and our logo, and in our case, a "Clear Path" may instead be "a Cleared Path" for our returning Veterans. Although we understood each Veteran must walk their transition path alone, we helped clear the path so they could find it.

And so, Clear Path for Veterans became our name, with a logo that has always included a circle, a path, and elements of nature. We built the Clear Path culture on trust and mutual respect during these early months. Those who walked through our doors were part of our community, our inner Circle. Building programs to fill our beautiful facility with hospitality and collaboration became our priority. These programs would provide holistic warrior care and invest in a population that inherently gives back. Our center would be the one place where Veterans of all eras could find resources, hope, and a community that accepted its responsibility to serve those who serve. A "cleared path" where Veterans support one another and the community surrounds them with respect and honor for a lifetime.