Militarily Speaking Ep. 47 - Purple Heart Bonfire Conversations with Mike Foss of Warrior Bonfire Program

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.

We — with guests like you — will help the military community not only navigate their finances but also military life. We chat about both good and bad financial practices and provide some insight along the way. We’ll share strategies to help people get ahead, discuss military benefits that members should take advantage of, and more – all working towards the goal of helping people become more financially independent.

On the show, we’ll also preview and talk about how to take advantage of military specific services, such as loans and mortgages, and help members prepare for important milestones such as PCS moves and the transition to civilian life. Finally, at the end of every episode, we have a bit of fun with our Military Minute. That guessing-game segment features military history, hobbies, a bit of pop culture. Correct guesses by listeners could result in a donation to charity of individual’s choice.

Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.

In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom, Jodi, and guest Lieutenant Colonel Mike Foss, President of the Warrior Bonfire Program, discuss how the organization supports Purple Heart recipients with therapeutic outdoor activities to foster healing and build supportive relationships among veterans.

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.


Ep. 47 – Purple Heart Bonfire Conversations with Mike Foss of Warrior Bonfire Program


As described by Mike, the Warrior Bonfire Program is primarily designed to provide continuous support and relief to combat-wounded veterans, Purple Heart recipients. In a vivid account, Mike detailed the program's activities which include hosting bonfire retreats, recreational therapies, and outdoor activities designed to foster healing and transform lives.


Connecting with Fellow Veterans: The Power of Shared Experiences


Mike's insights into the importance and impact of shared experiences among veterans were strikingly profound. He emphasized the immense therapeutic power in shared experiences as veterans find it easier and more comforting to open up to others who have been through similar ordeal. This understanding is vital to the Warrior Bonfire Program, equipping them with the knowledge to foster and encourage such connections.


The Warrior Bonfire Retreats: A Triad of Therapeutic Activities


Warrior Bonfire retreats are structured around three "formal" activities, the power of which Mike sheds light on:

  1. Personal Story Telling: This involves veterans gathering and sharing their personal struggle stories. It’s a therapy in itself, as it makes them feel heard and understood.
  1. Coping Session: These are discussions on coping mechanisms used by the veterans for handling various physical, mental and emotional challenges.
  1. The Bonfire Ceremony: This activity involves a distinct flag retirement ceremony. It's an emotional moment for veterans, as it enables them to honor fallen comrades and can help bring them a sense of closure.


Fostering Healing Communities for Veterans Across America


Warrior Bonfire Program continues to strive for expansion and growth across America. Its operations restricted not by regions or states, but with one mission to serve - enabling the healing and support community for combat-wounded veterans.

 Mike also drew attention to the exceptional contributions made by board members, partners, donors, and volunteers. Citing that their belief in the purpose of Warrior Bonfire drove their passion and efforts.


Serving Veterans and Spouses of Purple Heart Recipients


The episode featuring Mike Foss, undoubtedly, shed ample light on the vision, mission, and life-changing work of the Warrior Bonfire Program. It is a vivid reminder of the power of shared experiences and how the communal bonds of military service can foster healing. As Mike rightly suggests, the underlying fuel that drives both leadership and service stems from love.

 For more information about the Warrior Bonfire Program, please visit


Military Minute

Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.

  • Last episode’s Military Minute: What is the name of the program offered by the Uniformed Services that combines elements of the legacy retirement system with benefits similar to those offered in many civilian 401k plans?
  • Answer: Blended Retirement System (BRS)
  • This week’s Military Minute question: What was the original name of the Purple Heart?
  • Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
  • Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
  • After a winning selection, Military Minute participants are eligible for another selection after 12 months.


Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.