MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The West Virginia Rivers Coalition is working with the Martinsburg VA Medical center to help the recovery and treatment process for veterans.
The medical center has acres of land that they’re making accessible for all veterans to feel more comfortable after returning home. Veterans that are a part of the land services at the center, say nature is a big part of the recovery process.
“When I first got out of the military nothing helped me more than being in the outdoors no medicine no doctors nothing could replace what the outdoors could do for me,” Scott Rheam said, who works for the center’s grounds department.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito is sponsoring a bill called “Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act” that would require the secretary of veterans affairs to provide medical treatment and therapy to vets through outdoor recreation.
“Facilitating outdoor recreation opportunities for veterans to assist with their medical treatment and therapy. I’m hopeful recovering veterans can find comfort and peace in the beauty of the West Virginia outdoors,” Senator Capito said.
The outside therapy would be for veterans of all abilities. From pathways to fish ponds, and even baseball fields for more active veterans.
“Getting out and being active make me feel apart of something instead of isolating which most veterans do I enjoy sports and here I am years later providing that for veterans as well,” Michael Clark said, a recreation assistant.
Members from the river coalition say keeping outdoor recreation available for veterans is their mission.
“between 11 and 20 percent of veterans or one out of every five veterans that are returning home from operations Iraq freedom and enduring freedom are coming back with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Tanner Haid said.
The medical center won a national award for their stormwater management work that plays a part in their recreation opportunities for veterans.