About Tempered Steel


Tempered Steel is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting national awareness, education and support for our severely injured military members. Tempered Steel focuses on providing support to those suffering the most debilitating traumas from Iraq and Afghanistan by encouraging peer to peer support, educating the public and providing direction and assistance to additional programs and services that will meet their needs. Tempered Steel will also encourage public introspection as to the courage, heroism and commitment demonstrated by our military men and women through their stories behind the wounds of war.


Tempered Steel's goal is to educate by exposing the very real human stories behind the wounds of war. Tempered Steel would like to have at least one combat wounded speaker, in each state; willing and able, with Tempered Steel's support, to speak to schools, community groups, corporations, etc., about the stories behind the scars. By educating the public on the effects the scars have on our disfigured military members we are hoping to create a nation of compassion and understanding.  


 Luana Schneider, decided to co-found Tempered Steel after her son was seriously wounded and disfigured in Iraq in November 2006. Their first hand experiences to the responses his injuries evoked on civilians and military alike, compelled her to break down the barriers between wounded and disfigured veterans and those who only see their scars.

In deciding to co-found Tempered Steel, Luana contacted other severely wounded military members and asked for their participation and involvement. The response was overwhelmingly, "YES". Our severely injured military members have had to learn to deal with the public's perception of who they were based on nothing more than a glance. As these wounded explained, "they are in essence, still the person they were before the injuries..on the inside". To each of them they had not fundamentally changed who they were, just the way they looked and how the public now viewed them.


Each disfigured hero, in their own way, has had to learn how to function in a society that in many ways has shunned them or are even outright horrified at the mere sight of these wonderful heroic men and women.


Through the photo introspective and videography of these wounded warriors, Tempered Steel will be re-introducing society to the stories behind the scars. These military members from the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars allowed the photographer and videographer to share in their vulnerability, strength, humor and adaptability. The very personal glimpses into the eyes of these military heroes will bring about a greater compassion and empathy that those injured heroes greatly desire from their communities. By exposing their wounds with great humility, they desire to open a dialogue between the disfigured and disabled world and the communities they live in. (Our images were taken by Micaela Bensko, our stories were written by Amanda Cherry.)