As Veterans, we are used to starting over again and again as our assignments change, war begin and end, and personal lives change. Sometimes it is harder than others; sometimes it is near impossible. And while we will give our life for our family and friends, we won’t normally ask for help ourselves. It is just how we are.
So what happens when we have a transition that is so challenging we cannot do it alone? We try anyway. We drink a lot and often turn to drugs; we blame others, and we self destruct. 24 percent of all suicides in WV are Veterans. In the US, 22 Veterans take their own lives daily. These are old and young. These are Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and other era Veterans. All races, ages, and income levels. These are America’s sons and daughters. It is worth noting.
Also worth noting is the fact that there is hope. There are Veterans who have started over… again and made the long haul back from the edge. There are many therapies that are being used in conjunction with counseling (I would never suggest replacing doctor supervised counseling with alternative therapy… rather supplementing.) The Veterans that have discovered Agri-therapy are excited about the healing that it provides as well as the opportunities it creates.
There is a group in Ripley WV that is dedicated to helping Veterans start over…again and regain control of their lives. Working together and leading each other, they provide support and friendship to each other, as well as a path to recovery. Parchment Valley Veterans Therapeutic Programs is a newly organized group that is run by 6 Veterans of varying levels of farming experience. All have a love for mankind and want their brothers and sisters to find peace, health, and stability.
They will be plowing up and preparing a community style garden for folks in the Jackson County, WV area. Creating a place where peace and healing are combined with teaching and hard work. Kevin, who is the lead on this operation, has been busy planning the garden, from plowing to planting to harvesting. Increasing the health and well being of those that are involved, and teaching them about operating not only tractors and equipment, but operating a farm business is the goal of this program. It is our hope that with the combined efforts of Vets to Ag and PVVTP, we can change the lives of many in Jackson County West Virginia.