Healthy Veteran Highlights • July 2023

Welcome

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

May you be having a great Summer! 

Our theme this month is “Community,” one of NCHV’s core operating tenets and our primary means to defeat the isolation that leads to suicide and other challenges.  As you will read below, Community is intentionally integrated into every element of NCHV. The design of our tiny home village includes optimal house spacing and orientation, community center cooking and meals, stronger internet and recreational opportunities in the community center, and noon meals together with staff to enhance Veteran socialization. Other Valor Farm activities which enhance Community include Thursday PM campfires, work projects with teams, weekend recreational activities such as kayaking and fishing, and give-back days with community volunteers.

Community is truly one of NCHV’s strengths and distinguishing characteristics, a powerful tool to help our Patriots achieve physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational (PMSER) wellness.

Here’s a preview of the content below:

  • Plays of the Day – Community in Action:  Community Campfires, Community Volunteers, House Dedications
  • Meet the Team – Incoming Community Center Manager Sherry Bradley
  • Diving Deeper – Research Rationale for Community by Chaplain Eric Malmstrom
  • In The Media – Bob Dees Community Video, U.S. Veteran Mike Brady Interview
  • Prayer Points – Massing God’s artillery on behalf of Veterans, America, and the world.

These are exciting days at the National Center for Healthy Veterans.  With new personnel and processes, we are quickly achieving Excellence of Veteran Care that equals the Excellence of Infrastructure which we have developed over the past two years – and it is happening as God and generous donors are helping us bring the right expertise onto our team. 

Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and tangible support!

May God Bless You, and Blessings 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

    Community Camp Fires (Thursday PMs) Highlights
    • A great Praise & Worship session led by a local church.
    • A fun cornhole tournament for bragging rights 
    • A WW2 Veteran in his wheelchair who brings his country western playlist
    • Our Livestock Foreman Jake who sings and plays guitar  
    Volunteers in Community
    • NCHV volunteers create a special community here at Valor Farm. From our regular volunteers who come weekly to help with cleaning or cooking to those who come once or twice a year as a church group or work organization.
    • These many volunteers have mentioned how they get a sense of purpose coming and helping with our mission. Some have said, “This saved my life!” Over one-half of our volunteers are Veterans, all of whom give help or get help from others.
    • NCHV volunteers now number over 700 – an amazing show of community support 
    • The NCHV volunteer movement is truly amazing! We are grateful! 
    Village House Dedications
      • Three homes dedicated by tiny home donors to Veteran family members.
      • Each ceremony is unique, each equally touching. 

    In The Media

    Meet The Team

    Meet Sherry Bradley

    My name is Sherry Bradley. I am a mother to three daughters and the wife of a retired Army veteran. I am the new Community Center Director. When I learned about NCHV, I was excited about the possibility to get involved because my husband is medically retired due to PTSD and TBI. I have seen the impact war has on those who have selflessly dedicated themselves to serving our country and am honored to be a part of a program to help our Patriots regain a sense of control over their lives and begin feeling fulfilled again. I have a background in Social Work and began working on my Masters in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling. My goal is to work in the mental health sector with veterans and their families to help rebuild bonds and reestablish strong relationships. I have enjoyed being a part of the NCHV family and am looking forward to continual service to our nation’s Patriots. 

    Diving Deeper

    Diving Deeper: Living in Community
    By Chaplain Eric Malmstrom

    One of the key aspects of Patriot life at NCHV is community. Our Patriots live close to one another in the Patriot Village. They share all of their meals together in the Community Center. They work together on various projects around Valor Farm. They laugh together, cry together, grow together, and pray together. They interact with numerous church groups that provide meals. They work alongside the numerous volunteers who give of themselves to make Valor Farm even better.

    The concept of community has been the subject of numerous studies. Industry touts the benefits of community on problem-solving, innovation, and overall work satisfaction. Community helps us promote health and well-being. Research indicates that the quality of our social relationships affects a range of health outcomes, such as our mental health, physical health, and mortality risk (Umberson & Montez, 2010). We all saw the negative effects of social isolation during COVID. We thrive in community and languish in isolation. Every veteran will tell you the thing they miss most about the military is the people. We were created to live in the community.

    Unfortunately, when we experience trauma, our natural defenses turn against us. Our survival instincts tell us to isolate ourselves. They tell us that we cannot trust anyone. Those exposed to trauma are hesitant to share their experiences with others. It is painful to talk about traumatic experiences. There is also a fear that others will be traumatized by hearing our stories. There is a fear that others will think less of us for the things we did and the things we did not do.

    We read in Hebrews 10:23–25 (ESV) “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

    We need community. The writer of the Hebrews encourages us to hold fast to our faith in Christ, stir up one another, and encourage one another. We learn that we are not alone in our struggles. We learn that others are there to support and encourage us. This can only happen in the community. Christ tells us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
    Patriot life at Valor Farm is centered around this concept of community. Restoring the community to our Patriots does more than just introduce them to a few new friends. It is more than just growing a professional network. Restoring the community is a restoration of hope and purpose. It is a restoration of faith.

    We thank all of you who have taken part in this vital healing process for our Patriots. You do far more than fix fences, pull weeds, muck stalls, and prepare meals. You engage in community with them and each other. You help restore the sense of peace, security, and belonging that only comes through a healthy community.

    Prayer Points

    • Pray that God would steady the hand of the 22 Veterans a day that are considering ending their lives. 
    • 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 — horses, rivers, cattle, valleys, chickens, the fruit of the land, the beauty of the fields, the wonder of His Creation. 
    • 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. May we together, “Return Healthy Veterans to America”. 

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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