A Division of Silverhawk Realty

Caldwell Veterans Garden

Ribbon Cutting on April 24thGarden offers safe rehabilitation place for disabled veterans in Caldwell – Idaho Press Tribune http://ow.ly/wbvM4

CALDWELL — When a seed is planted in a garden — with a little help — it grows. What was once a hard-shelled seed splits open, allowing something greater within to sprout.

On Thursday, the city of Caldwell and the Caldwell Board of Realtors planted a seed in the form of the Caldwell Disabled Veterans Garden.

The official ribbon cutting took place at the garden, which aims to use gardening therapeutically and as a form of physical rehabilitation.

“This is really beneficial for veterans,” said Sterling Mathis, a Navy veteran who attended the event.

The project started when Gayle Strack enlisted the help of Glen O’Dell, a retired colonel from the Army, to help her son apply for disability benefits. She asked if there was any way she could repay him. O’Dell said he would like to see if Caldwell could put together a veterans garden.

“We’re forever changed when we go to war … sometimes in very dark ways,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell, who works with Vets4Success to assist veterans and their families, said some veterans come back from war afraid to go outside for fear they will be ambushed. Some veterans are afraid to drive on the highway, thinking it might blow up from under them. Some veterans, he said, become withdrawn and check out.

A garden can offer a safe, quiet place for veterans to work and be around other veterans, allowing them to blossom, O’Dell said.

According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticultural therapy can increase self-esteem, reduce stress, improve moods, alleviate depression and more.

Strack took the garden idea to Randy Jensen and the Caldwell Board of Realtors to the city. Both received the project enthusiastically.

The Caldwell Board of Realtors went into the community to seek donations for the garden and the raised garden beds for veterans in wheelchairs. They weren’t turned away from anyone they went to.

“I was shocked,” Strack said. “Everybody jumped on board, it was amazing.”

So far, 19 out of 30 raised garden beds and a gazebo have been constructed on the acre of land donated by the city of Caldwell.

The project answers an important question all veterans are looking for, O’Dell said.

“Is there someone who cares for what we did?” O’Dell asked.

The message has been clear to veterans in the area — Caldwell does, he said.

Here are some photos from our work day. On April 12 we put together 19 boxes with lots of help.

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