Sgt. Adam Burke returned from Iraq with severe PTSD, TBI (traumatic brain injury) and a Purple Heart. Despite those very serious injuries he could never forget the promise he made during the earliest and darkest days of his recovery…if he returned home alive, he would help others and give back.
Recovery was slow and painful but when he recalled his youth growing up on a blueberry farm, Adam decided to return to farming and in time, began to heal from his trauma. If this work could help him, then why not others? Horticultural therapy is a well-respected complement to traditional medical therapies so could the physical labor performed outdoors surrounded by nature prove also to be therapeutic? Were there other skills involving cognitive therapy that could help? It seemed as if Adam had developed an effective and valuable way to help other vets returning with similar disabilities.
Today, Veteran Farm located in Jacksonville, Florida, has one operating blueberry farm with a second farm nearly complete. With Jacksonville home to multiple Armed Forces facilities there is no shortage of injured soldiers to avail themselves of this excellent resource, and with the national agricultural environment in desperate need of skilled workers and entrepreneurs, it seems as if Adam’s idea is a winner all around.
The Good People Fund was so impressed with Adam and his efforts that we underwrote the purchase of thousands of pots he will use to start the blueberry bushes for the second farm. Within the next few months we hope to visit Adam in Jacksonville (FL) and see the true "fruits of his labors".
For more details about Veteran Farm we recommend you view this YouTube interview with Adam…it’s worth the time.