I am grateful for Huts for Vets.
In the Fall/Winter of 2020, with the country and world dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and all that entails, like many other people, I found my self in a depression. Having Post Traumatic Stress, coupled with the pandemic, I found that the symptoms were exasperated.
I sat on top of Mt. Yekel – by the way, I had the best seat in the house – to see the sea of mountains and nature unfolding. I did some sketching and introspected in my solo experience and I came up with this:
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: