Operation: Tohidu®

Over the last fourteen years, America's Global War on Terror has produced more than a half million veterans with service-related injuries. Thousands more are coping with invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These valiant warriors struggle to recover not only their health, but also their civilian lives finding jobs, rebuilding family relationships, and figuring out their new place in our communities. Their path is far from easy and many need our support. Melwood's Operation: Tohidu® program is a series of retreats designed for wounded veterans and active duty military to help them overcome obstacles to their recovery and support their successful reintegration into their homes and communities.

“Tohidu” is a Cherokee word meaning peace of mind, body, and spirit. Operation: Tohidu's experiential rehabilitation program focuses on confidence-building, outdoor activities, and group discussion in a relaxed, positive environment using proven techniques for the self-management of symptoms, stressors, and responses. Our highly trained staff of certified recreational support professionals strategically implement activities that highlight individual abilities, leading to an overall improvement in quality of life. By many accounts, it is one of the most intensive programs for veterans and active duty personnel with PTSD that is currently available in the eastern United States.

Melwood Renews and Expands Its Commitment to Veterans

Melwood recently made an unprecedented investment by establishing Melwood Veterans Services LLC (MVS), a newly formed non-profit organization. MVS will strengthen current programming and develop a diverse range of new services to support veteran employment, career development, and community reintegration.

As a core program element under MVS, Operation: Tohidu will continue to serve veterans and active-duty service members who are dealing with PTS(d), mTBI, and other deployment-related polytrauma.

In order to facilitate the smooth transition of Operation: Tohidu to MVS, Melwood is postponing Operation: Tohidu Cycles 12-14 retreats originally scheduled for the month of September. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Melwood remains committed to pursuing dynamic programming to advocate for and empower veterans and their families. We thank you for your patience as we develop a range of new programs and services.

If you have questions about the postponed retreats or the exciting future of Melwood Veterans Services, please contact Michaela Watkins at mfralen@melwood.org.

About Melwood

For more than 50 years, Melwood has advocated for and empowered individuals of differing abilities to transform their own lives through unique opportunities to work and play in the community.

“Melwood has a time-honored tradition of developing cutting-edge programs that address the needs of Americans with differing abilities. Operation: Tohidu is our next step in empowering our war fighters with differing abilities.”

Cari DeSantis, Melwood President & CEO

Learn More



In a peaceful and secluded atmosphere, participants connect with nature and their fellow comrades to become empowered with alternative therapies to better manage anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Download the Operation: Tohidu brochure to learn more about the program.

In the News

Melwood's Operation: Tohidu program approach to treating PTSD was recently featured on CNN. Read the article or watch the segment.


Operation: Tohidu retreats are held at Melwood's 108-acre Retreat and Recreation Center in Nanjemoy, Maryland. There, veterans use ropes courses, zip lines, rock wall, equine therapy and many other physically challenging activities to augment the educational sessions, social interactions, and spiritual reinforcement throughout the retreat week that helps them manage their own healing naturally.

Activities that participants engage in include:
  • PTSD Education
  • Experiential Learning
  • Equine-Centered Team Building
  • Exercise
  • Group Therapy
  • Peer Support
  • Skills Training
  • Spiritual Support

PTS(d) Treatment Pillars



Upcoming Retreats

For more information and retreat schedule, please contact
Michaela Fralen at mfralen@melwood.org or 301.599.2735



The weeklong retreat is free of charge to active and veteran service members, including accommodations and travel.


Complete the form by clicking the button below and reserve your spot at the next Operation: Tohidu session.

Register Now


Your tax-deductible gift will show these wonderful men and women that you are grateful for their service and extraordinary sacrifice. Your gift will enable Melwood to provide our wounded veterans with the resources they need to achieve the fullest possible recovery.

Support a Veteran with a Financial Contribution
Financial Contributions
Support our Veterans with a Vehicle Donation
Vehicle Donations

Sponsorship Opportunities

Become an Operation: Tohidu sponsor and make your donation go even further. Sponsors will be recognized with signage at the Operation: Tohidu retreat site, on Melwood's website and social media, and in Melwood's annual report. As a sponsor, a number of special volunteer opportunities are also available. Explore the sponsorship levels below and contact Melwood to discuss sponsorship for this transformative program.

  • $75,000

    Supports 20 veterans
  • $37,500

    Patriot Defender
    Supports 10 veterans
  • $18,750

    Supports 5 veterans
  • $7,500

    Supports 2 veterans
  • $3,750

    Clean Slate
    Supports 1 veteran

Operation: Tohidu Sponsors and Donors

Legacy Sponsor

Peter M. Kolls and Geraldine "Gerry" Schaeffer, M.D.

Patriot Defender Sponsor

PSA Insurance/Construction Risk Solutions/Hartford

Liberty Sponsor

George and Andrea Watkins

Providence Sponsor

  • United Way of Charles County

  • Sabre Systems

Clean Slate Sponsor

  • George Watkins

  • Capital Auto and Truck Auctions, Inc.

  • McCrea Equipment

  • John F. Loome

  • Mary Glasson

  • Glen and Barbara Ives

  • Beth Anne & Stephen Johnson

  • Sowmiya Narayanan

  • Nicole Ward

  • Raytheon

  • Todd Handelman

  • Mary Vieten

  • Andrew Remer

  • Cari DeSantis

  • Marjaneh Mobini


  • Aaron Dawkins

  • Aaron Drewiske

  • Alex Baker

  • Alex Gershman

  • American Legion Post 274

  • American Legion Post 274

  • American Legion Post 82

  • Andrew Penn

  • Aneliese Parisi

  • Ann Marie Wunderler

  • Anonymous

  • Antwine Stanley

  • Api Ajavon

  • Archie Byrd

  • Artemas Edwards

  • Beth Cooper-Joseph

  • Bonnie Marie Green

  • Captain George Burk

  • Cari DeSantis

  • Carol Grom

  • Carol Lance

  • Cesar Capule

  • Charles Jacks

  • Christi Lopez

  • Christina Eaglin

  • Chwkuemeka Nwanedo

  • Craig Travis

  • Dale Hutchison

  • Daniel Gallagher

  • Daniel Nofziger

  • Deryl Alexander

  • Devie Phipps

  • Diane Wilson-Bragg

  • Donald Howard

  • Donna Draisey

  • Donna Todd

  • Dorothy L. Bibbs

  • Douglas C. Hinckley

  • Douglas Fulford

  • Douglas Steward

  • Earl A. Meyerson

  • Eddie Mallard

  • Edward Diaz

  • Eric Waxvik

  • Foluke Gbadebo

  • Frank Elam

  • Fred Corbin

  • Frederick Robinson

  • Garland Barr

  • George Snoody

  • Glenn Feldhuhn

  • Gregory Glenn

  • Hannah Rutt

  • Harold Lawson

  • Harry Grant

  • Howard Fenton

  • Ida Rusell

  • Irwin Overton

  • Jai Balkissoon

  • James A. Francis

  • James Haugh

  • James L. Yates

  • James Willis

  • Jandi Potts

  • Janet Fernstrom

  • Janet Fernstrom

  • Jeffrey Schuler

  • Jen Muschlitz

  • Jessica Grom

  • Joan Fegan

  • John Gigliotti

  • John Lear

  • John Scott Sovereign

  • John Slaughter

  • John Straub

  • John Thunell

  • John Weatherly

  • Josee R. Esther

  • Joy R. Pierson

  • Joyce Donnellan

  • Judith a. Hancher

  • Kahli Turner

  • Karen Price

  • Kathleen Benz

  • Keitha Lindsey

  • Ken Rothermel

  • Kerry Trahan

  • Kimia Zadegan

  • Kristie A. Lomangino

  • Kvin Kline

  • Kyle McGlotten

  • La Shelle Ferguson Toler

  • Larkin Jennings

  • Larry Tuttle

  • Larry Williamowsky

  • Larysa Kautz

  • Laura Gettings

  • Lawrence Bell

  • Leigh Beatson

  • Leslie D. Taylor

  • Linda C. Sega

  • Linda Hesch

  • Linda Snoddy

  • Marchesa Whittington

  • Marue Allen

  • Marvin Miller

  • Mary Ann Miller

  • Mary M. Swales

  • Marzi Viverette

  • Merilee Paran / Josee Esther

  • Michael Mackensen

  • Michael Nowark

  • Michaela Hawkins

  • Michele Inge-Farmer

  • Mike Keppler

  • Mike McCormick

  • Minhtri Ho

  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Miles, III

  • Nicole Michelle Ford

  • Oilda Del Castillo

  • Pamela Ann Blackford

  • Pamela Lester

  • Patrick Cannon

  • Peter Viglienzoni

  • Philip Hilton

  • Phyllis S. Hughes

  • Printus Dates

  • RADM William Shannon, USN(ret)

  • Raley, Watts, & O'Neill

  • Ramon Tasat

  • Regina Niner

  • Revilee Young

  • Rick and Heather Muldoon

  • Robert Grom

  • Robert Koca

  • Ronelle Holloman

  • Scott and Catherine Ward

  • Scott Gibson

  • Shakelton Group

  • Sharon Adrian / Society of FBI Alumni, NOVA

  • Shelbi Evans

  • Sherri Levy

  • Sid Jacobson

  • Susan Homire

  • Susan M. Mea

  • Susan R. Cole

  • Susan Williamson Ross

  • Sylvia Holy

  • Tamara Todman

  • Tammi Fischer

  • Taylor Clear, III

  • Terrence Walsh

  • Thomas Jacob

  • Tommy Benton

  • Tony Mosley

  • Traci Thompson

  • Tracy Wareing Evans

  • Travis Craig

  • Vernon A. Thomas

  • Victor Leon Birks

  • William Donnelly

  • William Moeller

  • William S. Chafin, Jr.

  • Wyle

  • Zenetex

Contact Us

For questions, more information about participating in Operation: Tohidu, or to explore sponsorship opportunities: