You’re a Grand Old Flag

You’re a grand old flag
By Paul Andersen, Founder and Exec. Dir. Huts For Vets
(From his Aspen Times newspaper column Monday September 12, 2016)

The American flag was presented to me last week by a team of combat veterans. I had never looked at the symbol of our nation the way I did then.

The presentation was made during the final Huts For Vets trip of our busiest summer yet, where we took over 50 veterans into the wilderness for healing opportunities at the 10th Mountain Huts of Aspen.

“Huts For Vets has truly changed my life and is making me a better father, husband and leader in my community,” said Mike Greenwood, an Iraq War veteran of the Tenth Mountain Division, who handed me the neatly folded flag.

Women in the Military

Women in the Military
A Perspective from Vietnam

By Lt. Col. Janis Nark, Huts For Vets

The first military women to arrive in Vietnam were nurses. It was 1956. As the American presence in Southeast Asia grew, so too did the number of young women who served. In all, nearly 8,000 military women, and thousands more who served in the civilian sector, were there.

About 83% of us were nurses. The rest held positions in special services, supply, air traffic control, cartography, the USO, American Red Cross and many other jobs in support of our combat troops.

We were all fairly young when we volunteered to serve our country, and many of us were woefully naïve in believing our recruiters’ promises; mainly that we could be stationed anywhere in the world that we wanted, and that Vietnam was “strictly voluntary.”

Wilderness Therapy on the 10th Mountain Trails

“A wilderness area may well have more psychological importance than hundreds of beds in a mental hospital.” – Rod Nash

Wilderness therapy programs are springing up around the US as alternatives to institutional treatment settings. Researchers have discovered that therapeutic relationships are often forged more quickly in wilderness because of the forced intimacy of a small group walking within the immensity of a National Forest. This enables ideas and experiences to be more easily and openly shared, setting the stage for meaningful interpersonal communication.

With three full days in the mountains the effects of wilderness are, on their own, therapeutic. The static of the outside world becomes muted and the senses grow more acute. A calming remove from the tumult of the world is quickly achieved as there is no cell or internet reception. Focus on the ideas explored in the seminar becomes more pronounced while immersion in nature is unfiltered.