Garden under construction to help veterans cope

Construction is underway for a garden to help veterans, their families and workers. 

The Dole Veterans Affairs (VA) Center is hoping a new garden will help it better treat veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The Center broke ground on a new Peace Garden today.  The garden will be part of the Center's PTSD therapy services.

"So veterans can actually be digging in the dirt," said Heidi Barrus, a nurse at the VA Center instrumental in organizing the garden.  "We're going to have raised flower beds, so it's accessible to all veterans.  We're going to have plants that are aromatic and soft to the touch for our veterans that are visually impaired."

The idea is for the veterans to help with the actual gardening to better learn how to relax and enjoy life again.

"Well, I lay out the plans," said Dale Foreman, a Korean War Veteran who lives at the VA Center.  He's looking forward to helping with the Peace Garden.  "It gives you something to do there.  Just lay out the plans."

Already several patients have asked about the program and when it will begin.  Doctors hope it will also encourage more vets struggling with battle trauma to seek help.

"And hopefully this will be an opportunity for people to feel a little safer, more comfortable to plug in with the therapy and services we have here," said Dr. Jeremy Crosby, a psychologist at the VA Center who specializes in PTSD treatment.

The heavy work of excavation and laying out pathways and benches is being done now.  Planting will begin in the spring.

You can help out.  To learn how, click the link below.

The Dole VA Memorial Peace Garden is at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center along Kellogg in Wichita.

Garden will soon help veterans cope.