How it all began
Written by Ben Brettmann, Co-Founder of Fulda Foundation
The year was 2010 and I just left the military in the US Army after 12 years of active duty service as a Special Forces Green Beret. For those unfamiliar with this job this is a highly trained elite unit in the military that is initially selected after three weeks of tryouts. Most whom tryout either quit or are simply not selected based on performance, peer evaluations or various other criteria. Once selected, it takes over 24 months to complete the training to become a Green Beret. There are only about 3000 active duty Green Berets, which is approximately less than 3% of the entire US Army.
During the latter part of my service I became disheartened with the job and career I had and needed a change. The reasons why I loved the military simply were not there anymore and I questioned much of what I was doing with my life. I made the decision to leave the force for good and go into the private security. This was a great decision for personal freedom but there was something missing in my life in regards to value and what I was doing in the world. I decided to explore my Jewish identity in this period and I responded to a Facebook event post from the local Jewish Federation in Denver.
I initially met with the young adult professional from the Colorado Federation and told him my situation. I was actively on the road with work commitments and didn’t know how much I could contribute with such a schedule. He simply said apply and he will make sure to do the best he can to get me on the trip. Out of 100 plus candidates that applied I was one of the 30 selected to join the group of Denver young adults to Israel. Little did I know that this trip would ultimately shape my life moving forward and how I view the world and community.
In short, this trip was an inspiring moment of self-identity in my life and was exactly I was looking for. Something that I had personally neglected for various reasons was there for me all along. I made the decision after this trip to be forever grateful to the Denver community who honestly took a chance on stranger. This is where I met Josh Yeddis, the co-founder of Fulda Foundation who was also a trip participant. The rest is history as they say and we have been at it ever since.