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Community Plants Roots to Help Veterans Suffering From PTSD

The warm weather might have some of you thinking about your garden. That’s certainly the case for a local group that’s working to make a lasting difference in the lives of veterans.

According to a study supported by the government, the act of planting a garden can have a healing effect on those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

A group in Caldwell is aware of this and is in the process of building a therapeutic garden for veterans.

“It’s not just for veterans,” says Dan Pugmire, the on-site project manager. “It’s for the whole community.”

Three years ago, a Canyon County mother of several military men came up with the idea. It was her way of paying it forward after one of her son’s breezed through the veterans benefit process thanks to help from a local group.

Being so close to reaping the benefits from the fruits of their labor, members of the newly formed Veterans Therapeutic Gardens non-profit is not turning back.

So far, 26 raised garden beds, irrigation lines, a gazebo and a portable bathroom have been donated.

But the group is in need of the public’s help. They’re still in need of a storage shed, an ADA compliant gate and 300 yards of top soil.

“We’ll have people just call us out of the blue wanting to help and donate,” says Randy Jensen, the president of the board that governs the group. “That really touches my heart when people do that. I like seeing the community spirit, and it is alive and well in Caldwell.”

They’re inching closer to having a portion of the garden ready just in time for planting season this spring. A community garden will also be set aside.

People can also dedicate one of the bricks for the walkway to a loved one by making a $50 donation.

Pugmire serves as the on-site project manager and is also a veteran who served in the Air Force.

“I’ve had some back surgeries and some facial reconstructive surgeries,” Pugmire says. “I got a little lost for awhile and this has brought me back.”

He spends his free time at 305 West Belmont working for a cause he believes in.

“It does something to ya. It gives you something back, growing something … to live again when your life was all the way to the bottom of the pit. You can come back and grow something and actually give something back,” Pugmire concludes.

For more information on how to buy a brick or donate your time or supplies, find the group on Facebook by searching for Caldwell Veterans Garden. You can also get updates on the project there as well.

Veterans wishing to plant a garden do have to submit an application. They can find that on the groups website at www.veteranstherapeuticgardens.org.




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