Healthy Veteran Highlights • January 2023

Welcome

Dear Friends of the National Center for Healthy Veterans at Valor Farm,

Prayerfully you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year season, and may your transition to 2023 be blessed in every way.  In fact, our theme this month is on TRANSITION – we see it in many ways – 2022 to 2023, Fall to Winter, old to NEW, Veterans moving from darkness to light, people moving into NEW seasons of life, and GROWTH which presents its own transition challenges and opportunities.

Consider these Bible verses which relate to transition and moving into NEW:

Behold, I am going to do something NEW,
Now it will spring up;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:19, NASB)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become NEW.
(2 Corinthians 5:17, NASB)

In “Diving Deeper” I will lay out some of the exciting transitions underway at NCHV as we grow to meet current and future demands, and move from Phase 1 (2020-2022) to Phase 2 (2023-2024) in our NCHV Strategic Plan.

You will no doubt enjoy some more Valor Farm “Plays of the Day,” this month focused on a transition in our farming leadership, the kickoff of our Healthy Veteran Lodge complex design process, and recognition of the amazing LISTRAK support to NCHV.

In the “Media Section,” listen to the encouraging words from Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia as he commends NCHV in his State of the Commonwealth address.  As well, you will enjoy two more Living in the Heart of Virginia segments which separately cover exciting farm/ranch developments, and a Healthy Veteran Market update.

“Prayer Points” focuses on key needs within the Veteran community, and beyond. Prayer is really God’s artillery to soften up and break through the tough obstacles we all face.  Thank you in advance for your prayers on behalf of Veterans and our life-changing work with them.

We truly appreciate your partnership with us in so many ways.

Grateful to each of you,

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

    Farming Transition:
    • The new year saw some important transitions in our Farm Staff including a fond farewell to Nate and Missy York as they return to Florida to their small environmentally friendly farm there.  Both of these great folks brought an amazing set of relationships with local food banks, joy of farming, and a truly immersive mindset that helped us launch our Veteran farm Training Program.
      This transition empowered Zach Farrell, one of our senior Veteran Patriots, to step up and replace them in the Pork, Poultry, and Crop Farming Department.  Zach is a US Marine Corp Combat veteran that is equally skilled and ready to take Valor Farm to the next level.  Welcome Zach!
    NCHV Family Lodge and Counselling Center Kick Off Meeting:
    • We were honored to host an incredibly talented group of engineers, architects, hospitality experts, conference planners, and counseling groups to assist us in the final designs of our new facility.  We expect this to offer on-site counseling to Veterans in the area as well as a separate conference center and lodge that enables family reunification, marriage and family life training, and national best practice conferences.  While it may take a year or two, this wonderful timber frame facility will enable us to change the lives of thousands of Veterans and families nationwide.
    LISTRAK knocks it out of the park for NCHV!
    • LISTRAK employees and Lititz Woman’s Club volunteers blessed NCHV by preparing our end of year donor mailing to over 5.000 recipients.  The project was orchestrated by Whitney Hertzog, and enthusiastically supported by CEO Ross Kramer and LISTRAK Founder Howard Kramer.  These folks are amazing!  Thank you for this valuable support and for helping us help Veterans across America.

    Meet The Team

    LtCol (ret) David Mills
     

    We are happy to welcome LtCol (ret) David Mills and his family to the NCHV Team.  David’s professional career in the US Air Force was as a navigator of multiple combat support aircraft.  He has experienced multiple deployments to the Middle East and earned his Masters in Social work.  David adds additional depth and relational skills to our team through his national men’s programs and his Richmond-based local coaching practice focused on relationally-driven biblical principles. He loves to work with men’s groups as they become more emotionally skilled, and improve their stability through faith-based problem and conflict-resolution skill sets. He also brings key additional skill sets to NCHV and Valor Farm including:

    • Intake assessments, treatment plans, and addiction recovery and 12-step programs.
    • Trauma recovery for those experiencing anxiety, depression, and other related problems
    • Group therapy to help our Patriots and others we serve in improving relationship skills, identifying triggers, and developing neurological pathways towards positive behaviors.
    • Developing healthy boundaries, emotional self-reliance, resolving buried landmines in their life.

    David’s passion is helping bring people out of their isolation and building their comfort zones into something better through rugged outdoor workouts and real-world devotions in natural surroundings and campfires.

     

    Diving Deeper

    NCHV Strategic Azimuths for 2023 and Beyond
     

    Let me “gain altitude” for a moment and relay some of our strategic thinking as we enter this New Year. We have just completed Phase 1 of our master plan (2020-2022).  This phase was designed to build capacity (tiny homes, community center, develop programs) and to take care of residential (Patriots) and many other Veterans from local and national sources. A theme which I will restate on the people side in a moment, we all understand that you must “build a house BEFORE you put a veteran in it.” In essence, you have to “lead the target.” We now have the capacity to house veterans, conduct programs, and operate the Valor Farm platform in support of these efforts.  The early impact on the lives of individual Veterans and Families has been above and beyond what we ever imagined. We are grateful that God has allowed this to happen in amazing ways, assisted by many of you, an Army of volunteers, and many faithful donors.

    We now enter Phase 2 (2023-2024) with the need to “scale” to meet a much larger demand signal from the Veteran community.  Returning to the house analogy, we must transition our “Veteran Engagement Engine” to accommodate the scale and increased therapeutic complexity BEFORE the larger influx of Veterans arrives on our doorstep in coming months and years.  Hence, our first priority in 2023 is creating engine to provide Patriot Life (community living, dignified work), Patriot Programs (resilience, trauma recovery, life skills, financial literacy, career prep, et al), and Patriot Care (meeting the unique needs of residential Patriots, as well as the much larger audience of Veterans we service).  In particular, Patriot Care is the area that needs the most expansion and new resources.  The diagram below illustrates the NCHV Veteran Engagement Engine which is gaining more horsepower every day, particularly with the addition of some very talented players which God is bringing our way.

    This topic, listed first, is actually one of 5 strategic objectives for 2023.  Without a detailed explanation of each (we’ll discuss in future newsletters), here they are:

    1. Patriot Care:  Transition from minimum essential capacity (life support, programs, and processes) to a robust Patriot Care team which properly handles increasing scale and complexity.
    2. Patriot Recruiting:  Given that capacity is now available, begin active recruiting to identify Veterans across America who would benefit from the community life, intentional programs, and comprehensive care provided by NCHV to residential Patriots.
    3. Resourcing:  Expand from our current individual donor base to include greater institutional support from private and public grantmaking organizations (enabled by recently crossing the three-year threshold as a non-profit organization). 
    4. Media Relations:  Move from a passive to an active approach to media relations to facilitate the Patriot Care, Recruiting, and Valor Farm Resourcing above.
    5. Sustainability:  Accelerate progress to make Valor Farm a sustainable platform which resources operational expenses and facilitates excellent support to Veteran Engagement.

    Our good book the Bible says “Without a VISION the people perish.”  This is true, but the VISION must also be supported by clear and realistic STRATEGIES which are executed with excellence TACTICALLY.  This next year will no doubt be another exciting time to engage with Veterans across America and move toward our vision with strategic intentionality and tactical relevance to each Veteran we encounter.  They are, after all, America’s Untapped National Treasures!

    God Bless You and God Bless America’s Veterans.

    Diving Deeper

    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 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.
    •  

    Calendar

    NCHV Calendar
    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 Dianarider@healthyveterans.org if interested.
      Thursdays: Community Campfire at Valor Farm 6pm
      Come join us for fellowship!
    • Volunteer Saturday, January 21, 2023
    • Philadelphia Union League Club Friendraiser, January 26th, 2023

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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
    Jobs for Life – A Faith-Based Approach to Career Preparation
    The National Center for Healthy Veterans (NCHV) offers a unique career preparation course called “Jobs for Life” during the third trimester of its program. This course goes beyond traditional career counseling by integrating biblical principles to instill a deeper understanding of the nature and purpose of work. 
     

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Transition Preparation
    • Career Preparation

    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

    Intake, Inventory, and Assessment

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

    Key Activities or Objectives:

    • Onboard & Familiarization
    • Inbound Assessments
    • Personal Development Plan

    Returning Healthy Veterans to America