Changing Wilderness into a Family Veteran Facility on 4th of July Weekend

We have big plans for the new Veteran Art and Farm Therapy Program located in Suffolk, VA on 70 acres of land. 30 acres of it is gently rolling pastures and 40 acres is wilderness. This fourth of July weekend, volunteers Jim Harrell with Instant Systems and his friends Rob Crawshaw, TJ Murphy and Emilio Edwards came out with active duty Navy volunteer Damien Ray and his wife Megan and helped directors Denny Dobbins, Daniel Allen and myself start clearing a parking lot from dense forest.

Our brand new bushhog cleared a steady two acres of land in a straight line through the brush before the volunteers arrived on Saturday. The problem we ran into was 7-10 year old logs laying everywhere across the land that could not be seen prior to mowing. The land had been cleared previously for timber and many random logs remained. Plowing over them is tearing up the equipment. Walking over them is hazardous. Snakes love to hide under them. They have become our arch nemesis.

The team gathered at 9 am and with many water and energy drinks, used chainsaws, electric hedgecutter, axes, and hedge trimmers to clear a 12 car parking lot swash of land. A separate team worked at digging out the front ditch so a 15' pipe can be installed for the driveway.

It was hard manual work but left the soul with a good feeling. We know that with a clear vision, success is achieved. We can see the 2.5 acre lake with birds swooping down, the two barns with 8 horses whining, and miles of walking paths through the forest for veterans, their families and the volunteers to enjoy.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

#FarmTherapy #volunteer

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