By: Jennifer Patronas, USAF Veteran
Reintegration after a deployment does not end on Homecoming Day. Of course, it is an exciting day to be welcomed home, but is followed by a huge adjustment period for the entire family. Everyone changes after deployment. Everyone has unique experiences, good and bad. New habits are developed, good and bad. But afterwards, everyone must live together again and resume life, but things never go back to the way they were before. A new normal had to be created.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poetry by SGT Michael John Lemke, USA (Retired)
Every OIF soldier knows the starlight of an Iraqi sky, the timelessness of the desert, and the endless tension of a night patrol to nowhere doing nothing. This is for you, who are NOT forgotten, but prayed for to come home safe:
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.
Originally posted to SierraClub.org | June 7, 2016
Garett Reppenhagen of the Vet Voice Foundation talks about America the beautiful.
We were covered in what felt like the dust and sweat of a thousand years when our sniper team stopped off at Camp Anaconda, a main supply post north of Baghdad, on our way back to the forward operating base. It was 2004, the height of the Iraq War, and we had just completed a three-day mission in the Diyala River Valley, an insurgent stronghold. Anaconda offered luxuries we didn’t have at our own small outpost—air conditioning, decent food—and my fellow soldiers and I were glad for a break from the fighting. As we waited for the chow hall to open, some of us kicked back in the massive PX, while others went for a swim at one of the base’s pools. I headed to the theater to try to forget about the war for a while.