The National Center for Healthy Veterans

The National Center for Healthy Veterans: Returning Healthy Veterans to America

Where Would We Be Without Our Nation’s Veterans?

The courageous men and women who have served our country far too often carry mental and physical burdens that most people cannot imagine. When isolated, without community support or treatment, these burdens can become too much for some veterans to bear alone, which has resulted in increased veteran suicides. Veterans have pledged their lives for our freedom, prosperity, and security. They deserve to heal, re-assimilate, and live fulfilling, happy lives. With the horrific statistic of 22 veteran suicides per day, we have to fight for our veterans’ well-being.

The National Center for Healthy Veterans

The National Center for Healthy Veterans (NCHV) in Alta Vista, Virginia, is an organization that works to reduce veteran suicide through a holistic healing environment and strong sense of community. The NCHV’s vision is to “Return Healthy Veterans to America.” On their physical site at Valor Farm, the NCHV addresses veteran health in terms of physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational wellness.

The residential programs on Valor Farm, the NCHV’s 339-acre property in Alta Vista, Virginia, give veterans a sense of purpose with dignified work and community, which the NCHV believes will ultimately help them rebuild and achieve mental wellness. Valor Farm will also soon feature 100 tiny homes in villages of 20. Each village will contain its own community center, complete with activities for veterans.

The NCHV recognizes the immense value of veterans in their ability to serve, contribute, and lead. Everything that veterans can offer, America needs. Healthy veterans are productive members of society, good employees, and positive role models. That’s why the NCHV aspires to help veterans become healthy body, mind, and spirit, so they can return to their communities as role models and leaders that inspire others.

The Program

The NCHV believes that long-term participation in dignified work and learning opportunities create a solid foundation to enable true change and a successful future. The patriots in the program are immersed in healing and wellness culture. The veterans grow through faith-based programs that focus on unlocking their God-given potential and create meaningful relationships in a supportive community.

Every veteran in the program receives a mentor and a Personal Development Plan (PDP) that aligns with their specific needs and goals. The veteran’s PDP has five categories: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational. The PDP also tracks progress in specific trauma recovery, life skills, and professional development programs.

Veterans will also complete the Resilience God Style Curriculum, REBOOT Combat Recovery Program for Veterans and First Responders, and Career Prep. Elective courses can also be added to a veteran’s PDP, which include: equine-assisted therapy, life skills, financial literacy, effective communication, conflict resolution, diet and nutrition, sleep management, art therapy, and marriage, family, and trauma recovery.

The NCHV serves veterans in the Lynchburg area and across the nation. They operate primarily on a referral basis. These referrals can come from community veteran programs, regional veteran networks, national veteran service support organization, and faith-based military outreach nonprofits.

Recent Accolades

In March 2022, the First Lady of Virginia Suzanne Youngkin presented the very first Spirit of Virginia Award to the National Center for Healthy Veterans with Governor Glenn Youngkin at the organization’s headquarters in Altavista, Virginia. The Spirit of Virginia Award recognizes unique qualities, standout achievements, and contributions in private industries, education, culture and the arts, and philanthropy.

Get Involved

Would you like to donate, volunteer, or learn more about the NCHV’s mission? Click here to visit their website and click here to visit their Facebook page.

The Epic Artwork Story

Epic Artwork & Photo all started in 2005 when Andrew Bourne was deployed to Iraq at the Syrian border. He needed a camera for intelligence reasons, so his wife Karen sent him a digital camera. He also photographed the life of the Iraqi people around him. After he returned to the states in 2006 and Karen had a chance to finally view all the images that he took, she realized that Andrew had captured beautiful and harrowing images that later earned him a gallery show.

While in Iraq, Andrew suffered a traumatic brain injury. When he was finally diagnosed in 2008, he was told he needed a hobby to help rework the neurons in his brain, so when he brought up doing live event photography to Karen, she encouraged him to do so. Not only was live event photography a tangible exercise in therapeutic mindfulness, but it also engaged the brain and encouraged the development of neuroplasticity.

Andrew and Karen Bourne are a traveling photography duo with incredible experience and passion. Check out Epic Artwork and Photo’s portfolio here to explore their live event photography and the images Andrew captured in Iraq.

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