For many veterans, returning from military service means dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. One organization is giving veterans and first responders an outlet to find a sense of purpose again.
Sheep Dog Impact Assistance is a national non-profit organization that works with veterans and first responders to assist in disaster relief, but a key part of their organization is going on outdoor adventures to provide them with new challenges and foster camaraderie.
“This is a way for them to get out and engage, be active and maintain that bond, maintain that group of brotherhood,” said Adam Kuettel with Sheepdog’s Heroes Shield Board.
Finding and identifying men and women who are struggling to return to civilian life is just one way Sheepdog Impact Assistance is making a difference in the lives of those who fight for our freedom.
“It’s probably I think a stress relief but also to just getting together with guys just brings together a brotherhood for a lot of these guys they connect over shooting,” Kuettel explained.
Members of Sheepdog spent the day shooting at a range in Gravette.
“Thirteen weeks of Marine Corps bootcamp, the only week that my drill instructor was not yelling and screaming at me, was on the rifle range. the intent and purpose of that was to get you comfortable with you weapon system, get you comfortable shooting a rifle,” explained Sgt. Major Lance Nut, founder and president of Sheepdog. “The overall purpose when you think about that is believing that the one time you are going to feel the safest and comfortable is when you have a rifle in your hand.”
Nut founded the organization eight years ago. He said veterans and first responders can lose their sense of purpose.
“You’d be surprised at how many of the young men today when we picked up and called them and asked them if they would like to participate in today’s event you can immediately hear the change in their voice over the phone and then seeing the smiles on their faces today tells us all we needed to know our mission and the drive and engaging them through positive outdoor activities is key to that mental well being,” Nut said.
The growth of this organization is even catching the eyes of lawmakers.
“Just wanted to come out and again have some fun but also learn more about the organization and see how we can be helpful at the federal level in order to support groups like this. We have lots of situations where there are veterans in need. This is the situation that again allow them to be part of something, they’re used to being part of something that is bigger than them,” said Senator John Boozman.
All of this is helping spread the word that resources like this are ready to serve those who served our country.
“Our mission and the drive and engaging them through positive outdoor activities is key to that mental well being,” Nut said.