Returning Home

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.

The Science Behind Huts For Vets

The Science Behind Huts For Vets

By Stephen Otero

As a human who is consistently humbled by the power of our environment, I believe in the healing properties of life which exist all around us. Sometimes all we must do is stop, look, be present, and we can experience the education our planet has to offer us.

Meet our New Program Director

My name is Erik Villaseñor. I served in the US Army as an infantryman from 2006 to 2012, with two combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m 33 years old. I’m a husband, a father of two amazing children, a reader and writer, hiker and mountain biker. I’m also thrilled to announce that I am the new program director of Huts For Vets.

A Veteran Discovers the Soul of Wilderness

Huts For Vets helped change a man’s life

By Erik Schlimmer

During the spring of 2019, when I finished my master’s degree in clinical social work and gained my license to practice, I was anxious to get to work.  Since therapists had helped me process my own post-military mental health challenges, I returned to school as a nontraditional student to get my degree and license to return the favor.  After all, it is always better to give than to receive.  Though I was a New Yorker, I sought an employer that was based in the Rocky Mountains, worked with veterans, and embraced wilderness therapy.  Huts For Vets checked these three boxes.

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.