We had the good fortune of connecting with CaS Facciponti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi CaS, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Operation Shockwave was created in 2017 out of necessity to combat the National tragedy of veteran suicide. With the knowledge that 22 veterans suicide each day (one veteran per day in Arizona, alone) there was an absolute need for help. The vision has always been to offer a sustainable program that involves complementary healing modalities along with long-term mind-body care for the veteran and family. In the beginning, the focus was on education, rehabilitation services, and community outreach. Over the last four years, the organization’s mission has been able to incorporate the original idea behind its start: a more holistic approach to healing from invisible wounds and trauma.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
While working with another non-profit, in a fellowship opportunity, I recognized a gap in healing services offered for veterans in Arizona. I had just moved to the state and was recently medically retired from service in the US Army following injuries sustained in Afghanistan (years prior). As a veteran, it was clear to me that this was my opportunity to continue to serve my country in a meaningful way. I sought out like-minded people and we were able to start Shockwave together. It was not easy, at all. When starting any organization, especially a non-profit, there are so many regulations and concepts that you need to wrap your head around. I learned that you really have to get behind the reason why you are starting down this road. The cause comes first. How do you prevent suicide if those struggling endure the stigma of mental illness? Veterans carrier a higher suicide risk than civilian counterparts (2x higher). With COVID-19, this risk has increased and our efforts are even more vital to the quality of life and safety of veterans. We are not without other challenges. Non-profits notoriously have issues receiving funding and we are no stranger to this. We have spent two years working with Facebook trying to get our charity donation button added. A stable and reliable volunteer force is an incessant project along with finding veteran-owned business members to sponsor and promote events. Our most recent issue, due to current COVID-19 circumstances, is finding new office space. A lack of a brick and mortar office site presents further challenges in grant applications, veteran meeting space, mailing and storage issues, updating legal paperwork, and community outreach workshops. When overcoming challenges, I have found that it is best to work as a team. Make sure you have the right people in the right positions. Our team is small but mighty and unified. The right people are on board now. Since 2016 we have had a lot of people come and go. We are an all-volunteer organization; we deal with such a difficult and tragic environment most of the time. But…there are good times. Really good times. When you succeed and help someone it is an amazing moment. And at that moment it reminds you why we need to keep going.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would certainly take my BFFFFFFFF to:
DAY ONE: Culinary Dropout in Downtown Gilbert for dinner and drinks (make sure you get the brussel sprouts for an appetizer) and Room Service as your cocktail, especially if you like gin
DAY TWO: Breakfast- Snooze AM Eatery on Ray Rd in Ahwatukee (get the apple juice….so fresh! and the pancakes…any kind!!!) Activity- IKEA!!! Long lines….get there early (1030 and the line is already forming for an 1100 opening) Lunch- Grimaldi’s (white pizza with sausage and roasted red peppers…don’t forget extra ricotta) Snack- Stop next door for ice cream at Cold Stone (don’t judge….we are on vacation)
DAY THREE: Walk around Tempe Towne Lake Breakfast: Hurts Donuts (Open 24 Hours….sign up for the rewards program) #Shopping at Tempe Marketplace Lunch: Worth the drive…Chanpen Thai on Broadway Rd (not the Baseline location)…..”hole in the wall” authentic Thai cuisine……best thai curry in the Valley
DAY FOUR: Spend the whole day in Agritopia…transport yourself to a quaint little town within a city….has a Main Street feel. Eat at The Coffee House (get a cupcake) Dinner: Nico’s in downtown Gilbert. Great Italian food and wine. Upscale dining. DINNER- Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Camelback location (have to get the hot honey & sage fries…any burger will do. Adult milkshake made by the super personable and ever-lovely Maddie the bartender is a MUST HAVE
DAY FIVE: Don’t eat breakfast Lunch: Jin Shabu…hot plate style soup…..all you can eat. Interactive, cook-your own at your table. Wagyu Beef, Australian Lamb, deliciousness!!! Dinner: Vincitorio’s in Chandler. Bartender, Ashley is amazing. Owners, Ginger and Mario, make it feel like home. Most nights have live piano music. Twice per month dueling pianos!!!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are people that come into our life at the right time and place to push us along when we need it most. I have been fortunate enough to have met the most amazing individuals throughout my journey. My parents, Fred and Phyllis, raised me the right way. They taught me to believe in myself and trust my instincts, but above all to always do what is right. It was through their example that I found myself entering the United States Military Academy at only 17 years of age. There, I met a lifelong mentor and friend, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Anela Arcari. She was a Captain in the Army back in 2000, but full of knowledge, light, and laughter. She trusted me to lead my fellow cadets and always knew when I needed “to talk something out.” More importantly, COL A was always there for me. No matter the geographical separation, time zone, or ranks between us we formed a friendship/mentorship that has lasted 20 years. Her support means more to me than words. The countless Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and cadets that I have served with throughout my time in the military undoubtedly left an imprint on my heart that I could never forget. The men and women that I now serve with at Operation Shockwave are my new tribe: The Thrive Tribe. Chris (Co-Founder/VP), Maria (Secretary), Karie (COO), Kaila (Media and Design), Caitlin (Director), and Jake (Outreach/BoD) are the backbone of this mission and my new battle buddies in life. We operate from the belief that we are “better together,” and through combining efforts with other non-profits and like-minded organizations, we can continue to empower veterans to overcome adversity.