Helping hands

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Veteran farmer Rick Hayes delivers a load of compost to volunteers from Total Quality Logistics for building crop beds in the Turner Farm Veteran Garden near Cincinnati April 6. Over 30 volunteers spent three hours helping Hayes prepare the garden for spring planting. Thanks to the Volunteer for Veterans program, they were able to connect and the volunteers were able to help him complete work that would have taken two weeks. connects disabled Marine veteran with quality assistance to ‘grow’ farming initiative.

When Rick Hayes was deployed as a Marine Corps infantryman, he was troubled by what he saw in combat in Iraq, but also by the impoverished conditions there and in the African country of Djibouti.

In particular, he saw the devastating impact of people being cut off from access to food and clean water. It inspired him to connect with his local food community when he eventually left the military.

Now a disabled veteran recovering from PTSD, Hayes has become involved with the Veteran to Farmer Training Program at Turner Farm near Cincinnati. Due to spring weather conditions, he found himself in need of help preparing his veteran training garden—and he got the boost he needed thanks to a group of volunteers he connected with through DAV’s initiative.

More than 30 volunteers from Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics gave a few hours of their time to help Hayes prepare his acre of land for the season.

“The work we did in just three hours would have probably taken me two weeks to do on my own,” said Hayes. “The help today was tremendous and it helps set me up for a successful growing season.”

Meggie Strawser, corporate giving coordinator at Total Quality Logistics, had been searching for ways to help local veterans through Volunteer for Veterans when she came across the opportunity to assist Hayes.

“We are happy to be out here in the garden today,” said Strawser. “We are so thankful for our military and our veterans, and we’re so excited to help Rick get this work done.”

Through Volunteer for Veterans, users like Stawser can identify volunteer opportunities they may never have found elsewhere that are unique and specific to their local communities.

“This is a fantastic example of how Volunteer for Veterans works,” said National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “It allows volunteers to use whatever skills, talents or abilities they have to fulfill unmet needs. The sky is the limit when it comes to how you can volunteer your time through this site.”

By continuing to promote and grow Volunteer for Veterans, DAV chapters can use this platform to bring in new volunteers, find assistance for local events and activities or help connect veterans in need with volunteers who want to help.

Encourage fellow members, veterans and others in your community to visit to sign up.

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