Veteran Training Program
Off we go, in to the Wild Blue Yonder
Climbing high, in to the sun!
-USAF Air Force Song
11/11/2013 Happy Veterans Day to all those who have given so much to serve their country! I am always humbled when I hear a veteran's story about how their life has been impacted by their service...there are stories about the unbreakeable bonds of brotherhood, stories of hope being brought to a people who have been persecuted for far too long, and of course, stories of pain that seem too difficult to ever speak out loud.
After serving in the military as a surgical nurse during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and later losing my husband to cancer, I was left feeling like my life was over. It seemed that there were no more beautiful colors, no more joyful sounds, and no more hope for the future. With the love and support of friends and family, I decided to take a chance and do something many considered "way out there". Armed only with information gleaned from what seemed like hundreds of books, I embarked on a journey to start a farm. Two years later, my story is colored by healing and a passion for the powerful role of the traditional small family farm.
Over the last year my heart has been burdened with the need to help fellow veterans. As we pass the ten year anniversary of fighting a war in the Middle East, we are beginning to see stories about the devastating after effects that many veterans face. CNN published a recent story which reports that on average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day:(http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/21/us/22-veteran-suicides-a-day/index.html)."A survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America showed that 30% of service members have considered taking their own life, and 45% said they know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide". We as a country, have a responsibility to reach out and hold the hands of those who have given so much.
"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky
My husband, Charles Creech, chose to dedicate his life to serving his country as a military pilot. This choice came with amazing sacrifices, hard work, determination, and a strength of character that I have never seen before. His journey was not always an easy road, but I will testify that until his last breath, Chuck lived and breathed the Air Force Core Values:
Service Before Self
Excellence In All We Do
The Blue Yonder Organic Farm was started out of a desire to honor Chuck's memory, and out of the realization that working with animals and the land can offer a unique and powerful experience. My hope is that this farm will be seen by many as a place that offers peace and healing. We hope to offer both educational programs for veterans interested in getting started in agriculture, as well as offer an opportunity to partner with select veterans who need help finding resources to start a farm enterprise.
Operation Groundwork is the Veteran outreach program offered through the farm. If you are interested in learning more about our programs for Veterans, please check us out at: www.operationgroundwork.org. In 2016, we will be continuing our Veteran/ family picnics here on the farm. They are scheduled for the first Sunday of each month between 1300-1600. This is a great opportunity to connect with other military/ veterans in the community.
Operation Groundwork also offers a one week training program for veterans who are interested in learning more about starting a farm business. During this week, veterans will get to learn from professionals in accounting, business planning, marketing, etc in combination with hands on learning at a variety of farm/ agricultural businesses. The Spring Date will be June 19-25th and the fall TBD in October 2016.