Bodhi (pronounced Bo-dee) means “awakening.” The Bodhi Battalion believes that veterans can realize a life they never imagined possible with the proper support, connection, and a canine partner.
Imagine serving your country, immersing yourself in military culture, witnessing or participating in combat, and returning home, only to find yourself estranged from the civilian world years later. Feeling displaced, isolated, and disappointed, you consider you might need help but remind yourself it is not the military way. After seeing your struggle, a friend or family member urges you to get help. Do you look for options like therapy, a service dog, or medication? When you finally decide you’re ready, you discover the wait time for therapeutic assistance could be weeks or months, and for a service dog, it can be years.
This challenge is a reality for many of the thousands of veterans who return from war zones each month. And the truth is that an extreme resource deficit exists for our veterans – those who recently served and those who were discharged decades ago.
What makes us unique as a nonprofit is that we look at each veteran as a whole person to address the reasons for their current challenges effectively. By gaining a deeper understanding of the issues faced by veterans, we can work with them step-by-step to foster and maintain the components of a meaningful life.
Help Strengthen Support For Our Veterans
We are so proud to say that our organization is based solely on volunteers. We have no paid staff.
Our executive director and director of operations are committed to serving veterans and donate their time and resources to our program.
Growing up in Colorado with a family in law enforcement, Ericka knew the tradition of service was one that she wanted to continue. While serving in the US Army for over ten years as a military police officer, who deployed multiple times in support of the War on Terrorism, Ericka became a seasoned leader and received the distinguished Audie Murphy Award.
When her time in the military came to a close, Ericka continued her dedicated service in her community as a police officer, a tactical specialist in the SWAT division, and a patrol supervisor, where her leadership continued to flourish in this new environment. With her experiences in the military and what she was witnessing in the community, it became most prevalent that the help needed for veterans battling PTSD was overwhelming and growing. As a result, Ericka joined the Bodhi Battalion team through demonstrations of her service dog public knowledge enrichment and, in 2022, was selected as the newest Executive Director of the organization.
Her immense leadership skills, task-oriented organization, and dedicated service to her fellow veterans are a rare combination, and we are thrilled to welcome her!
Founder/Director of Operations
JoAnna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Addictions Counselor (LAC) in the state of Colorado. Her family has a long line of military service that includes service in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Two of her uncles were a POWs in WWII, one, survived the Bataan Death March, Davao Penal Colony and was ultimately killed while aboard the Japanese Hell Ship, Shinyo Maru.
Her personal history incited a passion for serving veterans. After seeing veterans in her private practice, she recognized she needed to do more. In 2015 she founded the Bodhi Battalion to address the critical deficits in the mental health care and ongoing support of veterans returning from war. As the need for services grew, she also recognized the power of the canine bond. She utilized her dogs in her work with veterans, which ultimately led to service dog training and placement as part of the Bodhi Battalion services. After working with dogs for several years and completing formal training, she received her service and therapy dog training certification (CTSDT) and passed the exam to be a certified professional dog trainer (CCPDT-KA).
As a native of Colorado, JoAnna is honored to serve veterans in her community. In 2021, Major League Soccer (MLS) selected JoAnna as the Colorado Rapids Community MVP. This honor not only extended the recognition of giving and compassion that JoAnna provides to our veterans but brought national attention to Bodhi Battalion. Through the years, JoAnna has remained dedicated to our mission of service.
Helping Veterans Is Our Duty
With a long line of military service in her family, JoAnna McTevia, the founder of the Bodhi Battalion, has a profound appreciation for the sacrifices of our country’s veterans. Through her work as a professional therapist, she also learned the extent to which many of our veterans struggle to reintegrate into civilian life.
After extensive work with veterans and their families, JoAnna witnessed the prevalence of homelessness and displacement as a result of PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), substance abuse and a lack of community support or resources. It became evident that the impact these issues have on the veteran, his or her family and the community they live in is beyond the scope of common understanding.
The Bodhi Battalion embodies the spirit of our veterans’ honorable service and seeks to offer multifaceted help to members of the military community who have fallen on difficult times. As a community, it is important to recognize that we should never abandon our veterans when they need us most. They did their duty of serving our country. Now, it’s our duty to ensure they receive the assistance they need to live full and fulfilling lives.