What we’ve discovered in our six years of leading men and women veterans and active duty service members into the wilderness is that most participants are philosophers and deep thinkers. We believe this is because military service has exposed many to deep reflections of life, death, and the meaning of existence. The level of conversation is refreshing in a modern age where most people barely look up from their screens to acknowledge those around them.
By Mike Greenwood, Tenth Mountain Division Veteran and Huts For Vets Alumnus
I find myself lying completely still in a rain storm, on my back, looking up to the sky wondering what I’m doing here and why can’t I move. A few seconds later I feel a rush come over my body as if I am falling off a building, heading directly for the concrete below me. I am stuck in this fall…
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.
Life After Huts for Vets
By Erik Villaseñor
Spending three days in the wilderness surrounded by vast mountain ranges, lush forests, and running streams can do amazing things to your mind, body and soul. Mix in the camaraderie of a small group of veterans led by an organization with a passionate sense of service to help heal veterans, and you have yourself a life changing experience – one that I truly believe can help those who have experienced war, have been greeted by the Darkness, and look to acknowledge its presence in a healthy and respectful way.
By integrating a wilderness therapy program into a warrior’s return into society, you’re arming him/her with an alternative way to cleanse the warrior mind and spirit. Studies have shown, and history tells us, that Mother Nature plays a huge role in mental health. Our connection to nature is primal and deeply rooted in our psyche, playing a crucial role in our cognitive functions (re: Your Brain on Nature). This leads to the conclusion that those who have experienced combat should return to the wilderness to seek peace, solitude and meaning in their now transformed mind.
By: Jose Oscar Roman – HFV Alumn
I am in a relationship of destruction and I am at peace with it.
I am not looking to escape this torture because this has become my norm.
I am in a continued nightmare from which I refuse to awaken from.
Give me pain, give me struggle my actions beg.
Give me discomfort and give me affliction my mind screams.
Give me all that is bad and all that is hate.
Silver Bird of Metal
By: Jose Oscar Roman – HFV Alumn
(I wrote this while awaiting my flight to return back home from Huts for Vets.)
Here I am being kidnapped back in to the wilderness.
I await here in my ocean blue seat facing the transparent wall.
A wall that shows my aero ferry that will transport me back to the silence of chaos.
Back to the calamity that we have filled ourselves with, the chaos we call life.
A labeling that was done out of sheer deceit of what a true life entails.