MCCLELLAN PARK (CBS13) – The VA hospital at McClellan Park is now deploying a new therapy strategy for vets.
This isn’t considered your ordinary garden, this is considered therapy. Volunteers are digging deep to help those in need, planting their labor of love for our war-torn veterans.
Local Home Depot employees are pitching in to build from scratch what are called Serenity Garden Beds.
“I was active duty for four years,” said Jonathan Lettieri, a peer-support specialist at the McClellan Outpatient Clinic..
“The other VA hospitals have been doing this for a while,” said Lettieri.
Lettieri says once finished, the garden will allow several vets with PTSD grow vegetables and flowers. It helps them cope with the past and bond.
“Veterans tend to relate to each other better and so allowing them to get outside the house,” he says.
It’s part of the healing process at McClellan’s Outpatient Clinic. The goal is to help patients improve their socialization skills and reduce stress.
“Events like this is really part of that giving-back spirit,” said Adam Lauder, a Home Depot spokesperson.
It’s therapeutic for the volunteers as well. Many have never stepped foot on a battlefield, but connect with the vets.
“We have a lot of volunteers. These are all associates who are off the clock who just want to come out and help somebody,” said Lauder.
“Each box will hold three veterans. So a total of 12 veterans,” said Lettieri.
Lettieri served in the US infantry and later struggled with substance abuse. It was support similar to this therapy garden that he says got him through.
“I was able to just focus on something other than my actual my problem and develop a new coping skill,” he said.
Several vets have already signed up for the garden therapy.