SFTT Offer “Thanks” to our Brave Military on Thanksgiving

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SFTT joins millions of Americans in offering our thanks this Thanksgiving to the Veterans and active duty personnel who valiantly defend our freedoms.

US military Thanksgiving

As we all sit down to enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, SFTT is reminded of those who have sacrificed their lives for our country and the many Veterans who continue to suffer from the silent wounds of war.

While the battlefield war may be over, tens of thousands of Veterans suffer the effects of brain trauma.  The effect of this debilitating injury not only affects the Veteran, but their family and loved ones who act as caregivers.  While one would like to think that we are close to finding a life-changing solution for Veterans who suffer from PTSD and TBI, no credible solution appears imminent.

Some promising new therapies have surfaced in recent years, but the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) seems stuck in a time-warp defending outdated and failed programs.  SFTT remains hopeful that the VA will come to its senses and begin adopting some successful third-party programs that have worked wonders for Veterans.

Hiding behind the mantra of “evidence-based medicine” sounds good, but loses its luster when the evidence strongly suggests that the VA programs have failed.

Our Veterans and their loved ones need solutions now!

As 2017 draws to a close, SFTT would like to thank a few people and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of Veterans this year.  By no means is this an all-inclusive list, but one that offers our Veterans a path to recovering their lives:

Paul Harch and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Dr. Paul Harch is one of the leading practitioners of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or “HBOT.”  HBOT is a commonly used therapy provide patients with oxygen administered under pressure in a series of “dives” in an HBOT chamber.  Used widely around the world for decades, HBOT has been shown to stimulate brain cells and help reverse the symptoms of PTSD and TBI.   While many Veterans have found dramatic improvement in their condition, HBOT is not recommended by the VA to treat Veterans with PTSD and TBI.

Colin and Karen Archipley of Archi’s Acres

Thanks to combat-decorated Marine Sergeant Colin Archipley and his wife, Karen, a successful fashion industry entrepreneur in her own right, Archi’s Acres provides dedicated Veterans with the skills necessary to run a successful organic farming business  in their community. With meaningful jobs in short supply for Veterans returning from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Archi’s Acres gives Veterans a lifeline to become entrepreneurs in a rapidly growing and eco-friendly business.

Yuval Neria and Equine Assisted Therapy

Dr. Neria is Professor of Medical Psychology at the Columbia University Medical Center and “Scientific Advisor” to Stand for the Troops (“SFTT”).  He is now deeply involved in the Man O’War Project which is the first-ever clinical research study to determine the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy (“EAT”) and establish guidelines for the treatment of military veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).

Maj. Ben Richards and Service Dog Bronco

Maj. Ben Richards is the Director of Veterans Operations at SFTT.  Over a year ago, Maj. Richards acquired a service dog, Bronco, which has brought much needed comfort, safety and stability to his life. Sadly, the VA is “studying” the efficacy of service dogs in helping other Veterans with PTSD.  This study will not be available until 2019.

service dogs for Veterans

Dr. Henry Grayson and Neuro Pathways

 Dr. Grayson is co-chairman of SFTT’s Medical Task Force and has provided several day-long training programs to caregivers and clinical psychologists  dealing with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (“PTSD”).  The author of Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind,  Dr. Grayson presents a radical view of health and healing based on an equally radical world view that we are all intrinsically connected rather than separate and that our belief in our separateness is a causal source of emotional and physical illness. Positing the body as the recipient of our beliefs, he shows that reading and responding to the body is a reliable path to emotional and physical healing. This is a challenging read with practical help for all willing to explore beyond the borders of traditional beliefs.”

 

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Saluting our Veterans on Memorial Day

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Memorial Day

As we gather together to celebrate Memorial Day, I am struck by the outpouring of love and heartfelt admiration for the men and women in uniform – past and present – who have served our country so valiantly.

Often overlooked as we celebrate Memorial Day are the spouses, family and loved ones who continue to support Veterans and active duty personnel with debilitating injuries.

Stand for The Troops would like to acknowledge these courageous men and women who labor on so courageously in providing daily care to loved ones who are no longer quite the same person they were before combat.

On this Memorial Day, SFTT would like to list several organizations that continue to provide great service to our Veterans, particularly those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (“HBOT”)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) continues to block the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT in treating Veterans with PTSD.  Nevertheless, Dr. Paul Harch and many others continue to provide FREE or greatly discounted treatment to Veterans suffering from PTSD.

More to the point, Dr. Harch and many other evangelists go out of their way to promote the benefits of using HBOT to treat PTSD.    On this Memorial Day weekend, SFTT remains hopeful that Dr. David Shulkin, Secretary of the VA, will begin providing Veterans with better treatment alternatives, such as HBOT.

It is time to rid the VA of institutional dogma based on self-serving agendas and seek real solutions that help Veterans with PTSD and their loved ones.

Archi’s Acres, Escondido California

Karen and Colin Archipley have dedicated their lives to helping Veterans recover their lives by providing training in “sustainable organic agriculture.”  At Archi’s Acres, students receive a six-week course in hydroponics, drip/micro irrigation, environmental control, soil biology, composting and much more.

We tip our hat to both Karen and Colin for having the imagination and perseverance to help provide Veterans with an opportunity to acquire new skills on their road to recovering their lives.

Wives of PTSD Vets and Military

I often come across some inspirational stories of families coping the ravages of PTSD on a Facebook Page entitled “Wives of PTSD Vets and Military.”  While depression and a sense of helplessness affects many Veterans (active duty personnel), their caregivers often bear the brunt of their frustration.

There are many similar Facebook Page support groups such as “PTSD:  The Wives Side,” but all provide some useful advice in helping loved ones cope under circumstances that are most difficult to comprehend.

This Memorial Day my thoughts and prayers go out to caregivers that do much of the heavy day-to-day lifting,

This is not an easy journey.  Frankly, we must move beyond coping and do everything possible within our power to help our brave Veterans recover his or her life.  Only by doing so, will we be able to recover our own.

On this Memorial Day, I wish all resilient warriors the strength and courage to continue to support our Veterans.

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Archi’s Acres: Promoting Veteran Wellness through Sustainable Agriculture

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Archi’s Acres has long been at the forefront of sustainable agricultural programs that promote Veteran wellness.  Stand For The Troops is proud to support their endeavors which allows Veterans to gain a valuable and self-sustaining education in farming.

Karen and Colin Archipley of Archi's Acres

Karen and Colin Archipley of Archi’s Acres

Found below are excerpts from a letter from Karen Archipley which explains Archi’s Acres programs in more detail:

“My name is Karen Archipley and I am a Co-Founder of Archi’s Acres, B Corp and Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture – and our accredited venture with Cal Poly Pomona (a college member of the California university system).

 “As a military family, when my husband Colin Archipley returned from his third tour in Iraq, our farm became his career and next place of service.    When he came to his End of Service, so many of the men he served with were re-enlisting due to not being able to find gainful employment.  Our farm model had proved out already in 2007 to almost equal Colin’s income just with a small greenhouse growing basil (which is what we are known for).    We had our first Veteran on the farm in July 2007; to date we have now trained over 450 students.

“When they graduate it marks day one of our extended relationship as we not only train them, we help identify employment and other business opportunities.  Additionally, they can review what they learned studying with us whenever they need to. We also have quite a few homeless veterans come through our program and for many we have been able to then connect them with farms where they now manage orchards, groves etc and have their own quarters on those farms.

“One story is Paul N. who came through our program last year.  He was very enthusiastic about organic farming to the point that we hired him as our Field Instructor for Lab Hours.  As we got to know him better, we found out that he was living in many of his classmates garages, couch surfing.  We were able to connect him with an 8 acre Apple Orchard looking for someone to take over their management and willing to train him in Apples.  They also offered him a 3 bedroom house on the property that the retiring manager was soon to move out of.   Or a studio apartment next door.  Paul is now a full member on that farm and has been there almost a year.   The 85 year old past manager took him under his wing to teach Apples and now the owner is helping him to purchase the land next door and together they are building a cidery on the property.   He is fully employed with a future.    Paul spends his holidays with us (for the second year) and now has a girlfriend with a child and they are excited to be moving into the 3 bedroom house.   This is just one of many stories.

“The grants that are currently needed ($13,500 for the class) are also compelling stories:  One such is Sarah H, who is still active duty, Sarah came to our program from Florida and had hoped to use her GI BILL, but due to shocking local bureaucracy nitpicking was not able to use it – even though Washington ruled she could.   Usually we would have had to turn her away to wait for another class until we could find a grant, but Sarah’s situation was different, she had found out about class while stationed in Florida.   She worked out with her command that due to her End of Service being in January, they would allow her to move with her two small children and her mother who she was taking care of after a surgery to North Carolina, their family land. Her Battalion deployed right after to Japan where they are still.   When the bureaucratic problem happened with the GI BILL, had we not allowed her to take the class, Sarah would have had 48 hours to be back in Florida with her family or would have been considered AWOL.  She also would have returned to a different command, which can be a challenging situation when there’s no history and where it could have been seen as special treatment for her to be allowed to come to us in the first place.

“Because of my husband’s service, we more than understand and therefore would NEVER allow that to happen.  Instead, we both let her take the class and took the responsibility for her financial debt.   Please know we are a very small farm and when we do not have grants for these students it comes right out of our basil income – which is how we live.

“As you consider donating to Stand For The Troops to assist our students, I wanted to let you know how much that means to us and tell you the story of those students who are so worthy of supporting. Your donation to Stand For The Troops goes 100% to the students via Cal Poly Pomona for tuition.  Stand For The Troops is our absolute Champion in assisting students!

“Please know if you are in a position to help, it means so much for so many.   For 2016 we actually still owe $13,500.   We offer follow up for all our graduates if you would like to follow their stories.  If willing for next year, $30,000 would help 10 students with partial grants, which really makes a difference in their lives.”

During this holiday season, do consider our Veterans and help them build a future in sustainable farming.  If you would like to contribute to their education, please CLICK HERE so SFTT can continue to support these vital programs.

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Archi’s Acres Offers Hope to Veterans

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Stand for the Troops (“SFTT”) supports a variety of programs under it’s Rescue Coalition umbrella to help Veterans regain control of their lives.   One such program is Archi’s Acres which provides Veterans the opportunity to learn new skills under the Archi’s Institute For Sustainable Agriculture Training (SAT), in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona.

Archi’s Acres is a farming enterprise that utilizes hydro-organic technology to grow organic produce. Headquartered in Escondido, California, Archi’s Acres is a certified organic greenhouse operation, which grows living basil, kale, and other herbs and produce. Our methods of crop production are not only highly efficient, it maximizes available natural resources, and focuses on local sales distribution channels.

At Archi’s, we believe a key aspect of successful business is how it meets its responsibility to the community in which it operates and the customers which make up its marketplace. We do this by integrating into our business model an opportunity to support others including our military service members and veterans.

Archi’s Acres provides a one of a kind world-class agricultural entrepreneurial incubator program, the , with the intent to expose strong leaders to the entrepreneurial opportunities which exist in the agriculture industry today.

Thanks to combat-decorated Marine Sergeant Colin Archipley and his wife, Karen, a successful fashion industry entrepreneur in her own right, Archi’s Acres provides dedicated Veterans with the skills necessary to run a successful organic farming business  in their community. With meaningful jobs in short supply for Veterans returning from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Archi’s Acres gives Veterans a lifeline to become entrepreneurs in a rapidly growing and eco-friendly business.

Karen and Colin Archipley of Archi's Acres
Karen and Colin Archipley of Archi’s Acres

Archi’s Institute Sustainable Agriculture Training

Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture Training offers several courses to address the schedule of their participants.  There is a six-week intensive training course as well as a 12-week  weekend and night course for those currently holding jobs.    Indeed, there are several flexible training programs that can be adapted to the needs of dedicated Veterans interested in a career in organic farming.

Applicants may apply online and benefits are available to qualified Veterans, but Archi’s Acres relies on funding from third-parties to help keep “tuition” costs to a minimum.  For those interested in learning more, contact SFTT by CLICKING HERE so we can get in contact.   Veterans who have put their lives on the line for our country will thank you.

Stand for The Troops thanks the Archipley’s for their unwavering support to our Veterans and helping to make a difference in their lives and the communities they serve.

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