On Saturday, Fort Harrison Veteran Affairs dedicated a therapy garden for Veterans.
Volunteers installed five elevated beds and patio tables constructed by members of the Capital High School and Sentinel High School industrial arts program as their school project.
The Montana Future Health Professionals (HOSA) chose the Montana VA health care system as their 2016-17 school year state project.
In addition to community mental health awareness projects, students participated in the #22 push-up challenge and sold Honor MT Vets wristbands to raise $2,000 for the garden project. Those funds were matched by a Community Impact Grant from the Home Depot Foundation. Additional funds and volunteer service for garden installation were contributed by Helena Community Credit Union.
When veterans come in for treatment, both substance abuse and PTSD, quite often it's very intense, it can open deep wounds for these veterans who served our country.
"Not just a sense of serenity for a place of escape but also to give them hobbies and things to do outside of treatment, often times for substance abuse veterans having down time is a big trigger for them and if they can take away hobbies whether growing vegetables, or plants or flower, hopefully, they will take these hobbies back home for them", said Bradley Meredith, Nurse Manager Resident Facility For Harrison VA.
Meredith believes holistic gardening is proven therapy in reducing stress, anger, depression and anxiety.
"When you look at all they've done how they've sacrificed for our country I think its a no brainier that we do everything in our power to give back", said Dustin Hocking, Team Home Depot Project.
Hocking works for team home depot project in Bozeman, MT, he said the veterans that work his store have given him feedback that they are really excited for the veterans to have to garden at the Fort Harrison VA
The formal dedication of the garden began Saturday promptly at 11:30 am with a blessing of a raised bed of sweetgrass by a member of the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe Nation followed by the ceremonial ribbon cutting.