Veterans Day: Helping Military Service Members Heal Through Nature

The invisible wounds of war that take their toll on our veterans’ mental health are difficult for individuals to work through alone. That’s why James McCormick, owner of Raising Cane Farms in Mason County, WV and a retired veteran who happens to be the chairman of the West Virginia Veterans Coalition, is working to start The West Virginia Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Project.

“This project is not a hand out to veterans — it’s a hands up,” said Bob Tabb, senior manager for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. “This is an opportunity for veterans to work together, enjoy the camaraderie with fellow veterans and learn about agricultural practices that will help veterans harvest crops and grow food.”

The project seeks to empower wounded veterans and military personnel through supporting the local agriculture in West Virginia. McCormick connects this to the therapeutic value of working with agriculture and nature.

“Watching life blossom, seeing Mother Nature’s work and getting hands in the soil are great for these veterans,” McCormick said. “It gets them out of their homes and agriculture-based therapy is really helping to heal these people.”

Our National Award Project, The Green Road at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, is working to bring the holistic and natural elements of healing to our veterans as well. The project looks to create areas for finding restorative peace throughout the campus, harnessing the healing powers of nature. So this Veterans Day, we honor those who have bravely served and continue to serve our country by continuing to cultivate the natural and sacred places that provide healing.

Read more about the West Virginia Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Project here.