Blog

Why the Huts For Vets Method Works

Words by HFV alumnus Adam Stump

After attending a Huts For Vets trip in late June and early July, I left coming away wondering why years of therapy failed time and time again.

When I returned from deployment in 2011, I went to therapy after having a breakdown. In 2013, it was the same. Both times, I came back from deployment with a heavy heart and mind.

Revisiting the Past

By Mike Greenwood, HFV alumnus, trip leader and co-moderator 

Revisiting a painful past is never easy, and often not a good thing. I am a firm believer that we should live our lives focused on the future with the lessons from our past being just that, lessons. Over the past few years, I’ve allowed myself to move further and further into the future and towards the person I want to be when I am eighty-five years old. On September 21st, I was given an opportunity to see the person I am becoming through my own eyes. 

Brothers

by Meghan Counihan

I wished to fight with you “my brothers”,
I served my country but my sacrifice was somehow never your equal.
I weaned my infant from my breast,
a month later I covered them with the same uniform, and my shoulders with the same patches as you and I boarded that white bus.
Before dawn broke, my baby slept, as I slung that M-16 over my shoulder.
She awoke that morning; and her mother was gone.

A Leap of Faith

By Air Force Vet Dannelle Coatney-Reichert – 5th Grade Math teacher, Pasadena, TX

A leap of faith, nervous and anxious I stepped on the plane headed to Colorado. I thought to myself, can I do this, will it hurt? When I arrived I was met with open arms and encouraging words from strangers I had just met. I couldn’t help to wonder what was next.

I sat around the table with warriors from all over the United States. The look of nervousness and insecurity was present and precise. The next morning we packed our gear and loaded up to the trailhead. Why was I going to hike this mountain? Four days without technology or hearing from my family would be torture enough, or so I thought.

A Comeback Story

Published on July 23, 2019  |  By: Shawn Banzhaf

A year ago I wrote an article for my LinkedIn friends about my “near death” experience in Aspen Colorado. Read it here before you go on so you get the perspective of my journey.

Thanks for taking the time to read that and coming back here to hear the rest of the story if you will.

The trip in its essence was exactly like before. This time however I was asked back to be a discussion facilitator on some of the readings along the hike. It was a great honor to be asked back for this and a bit surprising based on my previous excursion up to Margy’s Hut. But founder and executive director of Hut’s for Vets Paul Anderson asked for my help and I wanted to be there for him and his team because they had such a profound impact in my life.

Reflections from Gates Hut by Adam Stump

Photos and words by HFV alumnus Adam Stump.

Nine veterans from all branches of the military, two mentors, a psychologist and a wilderness guide sat on benches at a long, wooden table at the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association’s Harry Gates Hut June 30, set against the backdrop of the White River National Forest in the Colorado Rockies. The previous days had been filled with a variety of challenges as we read through dozens of readings and talked about our emotions.

Huts For Vets: Canyonlands April 18th-20th, 2019

By Amanda Walker

It’s not a secret that our physical and mental health are affected by our environment and the people with whom we surround ourselves. But I think that all too often, when our focus yields to the inconsequential minutiae of busyness and distraction, we forget to intentionally construct our lives in a way that heals and inspires us. Paul Andersen, Founder and Director of Huts for Vets, has created a world for veterans that is separate and other than one which typifies bustling modernity. In this engaging oasis, we veterans are able to gain insight and perspective in a way that often proves illusive, despite our best efforts in finding clarity.

After having returned from my second Huts for Vets trip a little over a week ago, I have just begun to reflect on and unearth what it is about these experiences that I find so life-altering. The full scope of the effects are still germinating; I can feel that seeds have been planted for even deeper healing and change which has yet to come.

Taking Back Your Health

You’re on patrol. It’s dark out, but a deeper dark ever experienced back home. Hours pass until the sun begins to peak over the distant mountains. Ninety pounds of gear on your back, the shoulders straps dig into and compress your traps. Your rifle ready, grip loose but firm. You didn’t sleep much; concerns about the operation and ponders of Mom and Dad flooded your brain relentlessly as you laid in your rack. A small smooth rock nestled in between the sole of your boot and the soft flesh of your foot. Each step piles on a fraction of pain. All of that doesn’t matter now. Focus on the mission keeps those thoughts of nostalgia, doubt, fantasy, pain out of your mind as you step it out. Selfishness has been stripped from you years ago – boot camp instills putting your brothers and sisters’ wellbeing before you. You move forward, the only direction to go.