Be the Change: Local program helps veterans get back on their feet by growing their farm skills

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - Many local veterans suffer from PTSD, which makes it tough for them to get and keep jobs and can put them at risk of ending up on the streets. 

Thanks to an organization and a one-acre plot of land in Clark County, veterans are getting help and learning skills to get back to work and back on their feet.

Roots to Road, which provides small-scale farm training, is the latest recipient of the FOX 12 Be the Change award.

How can a row of squash benefit those who served in the American military cope with their PTSD?

Can growing tomatoes really help the men and women still troubled by their time in the armed forces adjust back to civilian life?

For John Becker, the answer is yes. And the time he spends at Roots to Road brings him a sense of peace.

“I have PTSD and anxiety and being out and around in nature is helping me go through all my mental exercises,” Becker said.

Sharon Pesut is the executive director of Roots to Road.

“They're learning about being responsible coming to work on time team work conflict resolution how to communicate,” Pesut explained. “Most of the veterans in the program are homeless.”  

Becker’s six years in the Army were followed by 10 years in prison for violent crime, and he hasn't had a job in 15 years.

He says Roots to Road “is getting me acclimated back into society to be a benefit instead of a negative.”

He's hoping this temporary job will help him find permanent work.

“It's helped to get us some experience back into the workforce, so they look at us and say yes we show up we work we do what we're told. Just to give us job experience.”

Samuel Price said he got into the program after he had fallen on some hard times after serving in Iraq.

He was working until a year ago and wants to get back to work soon.

“I'm hoping to get my stability personal stability confidence back,” Price told FOX 12.

The Roots to Road farm is part of a larger program called Partners in Careers, which over the last dozen years has helped roughly 700 homeless veterans.

The farm helping others in the community, too. A portion of the vegetables grown are donated to local food banks and pantries.

For its mission, Roots to Road is deserving of the FOX 12 Be the Change award.

To nominate a person or group deserving of the Be the Change award, please go to KPTV.com/BeTheChange.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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