Healthy Veteran Highlights • August 2022


Dear Friends of the National Center for Healthy Veterans,

Our theme for this month’s newsletter is simply “Caring for People.”  For NCHV this primarily means caring for veterans, active-duty military, first responders, and their families.

While the amazing progress with tiny home construction, community center opening, a new Healthy Veteran market taking shape, and the daily exploits with God’s creatures on the Valor Farm platform is impressive; the REAL NEWS is that all of this is for the purpose of taking care of the PEOPLE who live, work, volunteer, and visit at Valor Farm.  

Reinforcing this theme, we are pleased to introduce you to the new Valor Farm Chaplain, Thomas Harris, in MEET THE TEAM.  Similarly, we address how people and organizations across America can refer Veterans to Valor Farm, and how those same Veterans can apply to the one-year residential program in DIVING DEEPER.  As always, the PLAYS OF THE DAY, are short snippets of the progress being made at Valor Farm on a daily basis.

Yes, PEOPLE are, and will remain, the central focus of the National Center for Healthy Veterans at Valor Farm.  While we work hard to maintain confidentiality regarding the life stories and growth of the Veterans we serve, I can assure you that God is doing some amazing things to achieve new Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional, and Relational wellness in many lives.  This wellness has manifested itself in healed families, restored physical health, renewed sense of purpose, increased motivation to serve God and others, and overall growth enroute to once again contributing to America.  Psalm 51 speaks to creating clean hearts, renewal of a right spirit, and restoration of JOY.  We are privileged to see God doing this work in our midst. That’s the real PLAY OF THE DAY!

To close, I express gratitude to the many hands who are making light work at Valor Farm – staff, volunteers, Patriots and Veterans, and donors who are faithful to provide resources to fight this fight on behalf of Veterans, on behalf of America. 

Respectfully in Christ,

Robert F. Dees
Major General, U.S. Army, Retired
NCHV President & CEO

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    YOUR encouragement and generosity
    have made these amazing things happen at Valor Farm. 
    We certainly welcome and need your further support on behalf of Returning Healthy Veterans to America!

    Join our Healthy Veterans Community!

    Plays of the Day

    • On August 11, 2022 NCHV Staff, Patriots, volunteers, and community members welcomed the newest Patriot into the Lancaster County PA Veteran Village.
    • Each Patriot is gifted a quilt handmade by the Amish ladies of Lancaster County PA and delivered by Mrs. Lois Duling.  


    • Four litters of piglets have been born this month bringing us to nearly 70 pigs!
    • We’ve added 10 broiler chickens to the Lancaster County PA Veteran Village which will be cared for by the Patriots and Missional family.


    • We are so thankful for Kevin and Lindsay Middleton and all they do for our Valor Farm Patriots and staff. Twice a month, they prepare and deliver a delicious lunch meal for the Patriots and staff to enjoy. The Middletons are a tremendous blessing to Valor Farm and each person here. 


    • God has truly blessed us with the best volunteers! Robert Campbell, Larry and Paulette Bailey, and many more put in countless hours of labor and love into the Farmhouse renovation project this Summer. From painting to staining to tearing down walls, our construction crew and volunteers have completely transformed this beautiful home.

    Meet The Team

    Thomas Harris
    Please join me in welcoming our new Valor Farm Chaplain, Pastor Thomas Harris, along with his amazing wife Heather.  He brings an amazing array of gifts and life experiences to Valor Farm Staff and Patriots, as well as the many Veterans which transit Valor Farm.  

    Thomas served in the Marines for ten years as a Radio Technician and Maintenance Supervisor, including a combat tour in Desert Storm.  After military service, Thomas worked in business as a project manager, sales and customer representative, and small business owner for twenty years in the second season of his adult life.  In the early 2000s, Thomas began leaning into ministry to the military and others in a variety of ways, with Heather generally serving as a co-leader.  Examples of their ministry service include Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) counselors, pastors, and leaders of the TRBC military ministry “MANA” group; Crisis Response Chaplains for Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and others; certified instructors covering topics ranging from trauma recovery (REBOOT) to financial literacy (Financial Peace University) to a variety of marriage counseling and seminars to many, many other venues of service by the Harrises.

    Most recently, Thomas received his Master of Divinity Chaplaincy from Liberty University in the Winter of 2021.   This additional educational equipping, along with his breadth of experience with Veterans and military personnel, particularly suit him for service as the Valor Farm Chaplain.  

    Thomas and Heather’s new Valor Farm family enthusiastically welcome them as key players in the fight to reduce Veteran suicide, bring harmony to military families, and “Return Healthy Veterans to America.”  

    Diving Deeper

    Patriot Referral and Application Process
    Our Innovative Program:
    The National Center for Healthy Veterans takes a faith-based, holistic approach to “Returning Healthy Veterans to America” in the natural healing environment of Valor Farm near Altavista, Virginia. Our Patriots live and perform dignified work in community while participating in resilience, trauma recovery, and career preparation programs. We leverage an ecosystem of empirically based and technology-enabled residential, non-residential, virtual, and conference programs which support Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional, and Relational healing for America’s Veterans and their families.
    Profile of Those We Serve:
    The National Center for Healthy Veterans serves at-risk veterans who are willing to invest a year at Valor Farm for a “reset and restart”. We expect them to commit to change, be willing to work toward re-optimizing their daily performance, and to restore family and other relationships. Our Veterans must be able to live, learn, work, and train in a rural farm environment. Patriots are selected through a thorough referral and application process which matches their needs with NCHV programs and resources.
    To add more detail, while NCHV is growing virtual, non-residential, and conference programs in coming monthsthe distinctive primary program vehicle is a one-year residential program at Valor Farm. 

    The Residential Program:
    The one-year residential program is a golden opportunity to “get unstuck,” to move past trauma and transition challenges into a lifetime of personal and professional contribution and success.  After a significant month of orientation and assessment, Valor Farm “Patriots” move through three 12 week “trimesters” which sequentially focus on resilience, trauma recovery, and career preparation. Concurrently Patriots take electives based on personal needs and interests — ranging across equine therapy, financial literacy, family relationships, topical Bible studies, nutrition, sleep management, pain management, and many others.  Assisted by mentors, each Patriot constructs a Personal Development Plan which tracks individual goals and progress.  The desired outcomes from the community living, dignified work, technical training, and overall wellness culture include successful professional transition, healthy work-life balance, wholesome family relationships, expanded inner resources including a relevant faith, positive contribution to society, and service as a mentor to others.  The NCHV will continue to be a resource and encouragement to our Patriot graduates.

    During their time at Valor Farm, Patriots live in individual tiny homes (or a larger family tiny home) within a Patriot Community Village.  Each village consists of 20 tiny homes and a Village Community Center where Patriots cook and share meals, enjoy fitness and recreational activities, participate in classes and special events, and grow stronger together.  As well, Patriots together engage in meaningful work on the farm (or in the local community) which is aligned with their interests and capabilities.  

    The Referral and Application Process:
    Due to increasing tiny home availability, NCHV is now accepting applications for additional Patriots in our one-year residential program. I encourage you to identify Veterans who would benefit from our program.  The process begins with referral from a trusted private or government entity, followed by an application (including background checks) which the NCHV Client Care Council reviews to make a final acceptance determination, or refer the individual to an organization better suited to meet their particular needs.  Currently, we do not accept Veterans with active addictions, and make Veteran specific acceptance determinations based on other behavioral and mental health histories.

    The Valor Farm Program Director Command Sergeant Major Jeremy Strasser administers this referral and application process and can be reached at or phone 712-830-3552.  He will send Referral documentation to you, and an application form to your referred Veteran.  Veterans seeking admittance without a referring entity can contact CSM Strasser directly.
    Return Healthy Veterans to America:
    To conclude, you are probably well aware of the urgency and depth of the challenges our Nation’s Veterans face.   The most tragic symbol of these lingering issues faced by our Veterans of past and present wars is the reality of Active Duty and Veteran suicides.  Veteran suicides in the last decade alone (73,000) are far higher than the names of fallen warriors on the Vietnam Wall (58,220), and greater than all of the combat fatalities in the Vietnam War to present day. These tragic suicide statistics are mirrored by equally tragic statistics regarding family dysfunction, ongoing impacts of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, lingering addictions, homelessness, and other mental and behavioral health challenges.  This should not be happening in America! This is why the National Center for Healthy Veterans exists – to save lives and families, and to Return Healthy Veterans to America as entrepreneurs, educators, parents, community leaders, and role models in every sector of society. 

    The Patriot Acceptance Process describes the specific referral and application process.

    In The Media

    Dr. Ben Carson and Bob Dees at Valor Farm, National Center for Healthy Veterans, NCHV

    Prayer Points

    • Together we uplift the people of Ukraine in this tragic hour. May God guide you, protect you, and hide you under the shelter of His wings as the destruction passes by.
    • Pray that the work of the National Center for Healthy Veterans would rapidly advance to provide help, hope, and healing for our nation’s Veterans and their families.
    • Join us in praising God for the beauty of His Creation at Valor Farm — horses, rivers, cattle, valleys, chickens, the fruit of the land, the beauty of the fields, the wonder of His Creation. 
    • Join us in praising God for the amazing Army of NCHV volunteers, a multitude of generous supporters, and a faithful staff.
    • Pray that God would steady the hand of the 22 Veterans a day that are considering ending their lives. 
    • Without mentioning specifics, pray for the many Veterans and their families in our midst who have financial issues, health crises, relational dysfunction, and suffer from mental and emotional challenges. May God bring wellness to Veterans throughout the land. 
    • Pray that God will provide laborers and resources to “Return Healthy Veterans to America,”  and may these Healthy Veterans provide unique contributions to America as role models, parents, educators, coaches, business professionals, and societal influencers. 


    Weekly Schedule & Upcoming Events
      • Mon-Fri: Daily Devotions with Staff, Patriots, Volunteers, and Friends of Valor Farm
      • Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. Scheduled Tours
        please contact if interested.
        Thursdays: Community Campfire at Valor Farm 6pm
        Come join us for fellowship!
      • OCTOBER 2022: Suicide Awareness Walk
      • NOVEMBER 2022: Annual NCHV Veteran’s Day Event

    Upcoming Events:
    • August Volunteer Saturdays: 20th, Valor Farm, 8:00 a.m.
    • September Volunteer Saturdays: 10th and 24th, Valor Farm, 8:00 a.m.
    • September 3-17, 2022: 5th Annual Field of Honor presented by the Rotary Club of Forest (Graves Mill Road, Lynchburg)
    • September 24, 2022: Craft Fair and Car Show, American Legion Post 16, Lynchburg
    • October 1, 2022: Out of the Darkness Walk, Suicide Awareness Foundation, Lynchburg
    • November 11: 3rd Annual Veterans Day Celebration at Valor Farm and Concert, 4 p.m.

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    In the last stage of the program Patriots learn about post graduation support and how to maintain balance in their new environments. They also conduct an outbound assessment of the outcome of their PDP and receive assistance transitioning to new employment and living arrangements.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Outbound Assessments
    • Graduate Support Programs
    • Graduation

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    NCHV partners with the best in industry and the best educators to help veterans develop the skills they need to transition successfully to civilian employment at ZERO cost to them.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Transition Preparation
    • Career Preparation

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    A nationally renowned, faith-based trauma healing course designed to help veterans of all eras and their families recover from the spiritual and moral wounds of war.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Less Pain, Anger, Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression.
    • More Forgiveness and Meaning
    • Better Social Participation and Connectedness
    • Quality of Life

    “The hospital fixed my body, but REBOOT fixed my soul. REBOOT sought out and resued the man I once was.”

    Trauma Healing For Everyone

    This one-of-a-kind course teaches you how to build bounce, weather the storm, and bounce back without getting stuck. This course is widely used in church and academic settings to build personal resilience.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Preparing for the Storms of Life
    • Weathering the Storms
    • Bouncing Back
    • Navigating Adversity

    “We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.”
    2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    Resilience: Learning to Bounce

    The Patriot onboarding period includes familiarization with the farm, its work, living, and recreational areas, an individual assessment, and the creation of the holistic Personal Development Plan.

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Onboard & Familiarization
    • Inbound Assessments
    • Personal Development Plan

    Returning Healthy Veterans to America