Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Hunting, fishing trips help wounded vets return to normalcy; Veterans Day is Friday, Nov. 11

A Kansas-based nonprofit uses hunting and fishing trips and other outdoor activities to help wounded veterans—Veterans Day is Nov. 11—through the healing process of returning to civilian life. Patriot Outdoors Adventures sites a U.S. Department of Defense Department study that says 1 in 6 combat troops and Marines returning from Iraq found 1 in 6 soldiers "acknowledged symptoms of severe depression and PTSD and 6 in 10 of these same veterans were unlikely to seek help." About 5.3 million veterans—24 percent of all veterans—live in rural areas, according to Office of Rural Health of the Veterans Health Administration.

Carroll, Neb., is in Wayne County (Wikipedia map)
In Carroll, Neb., veterans Mark Wieseler and Brian Petzoldt use the Patriot Outdoor Adventures program to take other veterans deer and turkey hunting, Nick Hytrek reports for the Sioux City Journal. The trips are "meant to be enlightening. Not just in terms of teaching military veterans hunting skills, but getting them to open up and maybe begin to cope with issues they've been facing." Wieseler told Hytrek, "The deer and the turkey, that in my opinion is the bonus. Getting these guys out of the house, around other vets, shows them they're not alone."

Hytrek writes, "Even if not dealing with post-traumatic stress or other conditions caused by their service, many veterans, Wieseler said, just have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. They're used to being told what to do and when. Without that direction, some sit at home and feel isolated." Wieseler told him, "We use the outdoors as a hook. We show them there is life outside of the basement or whatever."

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