POINT PLEASANT — “We cannot let anymore veterans fall through the cracks.”
Retired Army Captain James McCormick of New Haven delivered this statement during his presentation on Wednesday afternoon at the Mason County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Marshall University Mid-Ohio Valley Center. McCormick discussed his experience of when he returned from his service, and what kind of things others go through as a result of war, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the effects it can have.
In addition to experiencing symptoms of PTSD, in today’s economy, veterans often return home and are unable to get a job and can end up being homeless. McCormick has been working to make this issue a thing of the past with his organization Raising Cane Farms. It was reported that unemployment for veterans in the past decade is 13.3 percent, compared to the general population’s rate, which is 9.2 percent. It was also reported that on any given night between 130,000 and 200,000 veterans are homeless, which represents around one-fourth to one-fifth of all homeless people. McCormick added there were also approximately 6,000 wounded veterans around this area.
“It’s very hard to find a home that has not been touched” McCormick said.
McCormick began Raising Cane Farms to provide disabled veterans a place to go and work and relax with other veterans, and help them adjust to their life after they’ve experienced war. At the farm, the veterans grow and harvest bamboo for food, timber, and crafts, and sell it to manufacturers, as well as produce sellers, restaurants, and landscapers.
At first, bamboo might seem like an odd product to grow in Mason County, but it was reported that bamboo is a low risk, low maintenance, high yielding crop. The market for bamboo products in the United States has increased, and continues to increase as more consumers come to see the sustainability of the end products, as well as their affordability.
In addition to providing veterans with a job, McCormick said they provide counseling and outreach for veterans more than anything else. He described it as not a handout, but a hand-up.
“Raising Cane Farms is about hope more than anything else,” McCormick said. It was also reported there are plans to create a meditation garden at the farm as well.
In addition to discussing his work with Raising Cane Farms, McCormick discussed an upcoming monument that is being built by the American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation. McCormick stated there are memorials for several other wars, but no memorials for fallen soldiers since the Gulf War which began in 1990. At this memorial, there won’t simply be names listed, but there will also be photos of the fallen soldiers along with some biographical information. There are also opportunities for the soldiers’ families to add a few personal touches to the memorial as well.
The memorial will be built in Kansas City, Kansas, and is still in the process of gathering funds to build it. There are several ways contributions can be made in many different ways. For more information on this memorial and how to contribute to it, visit www.afwmf.org. For more information about Raising Cane Farms, visit www.raisingcanefarms.com.
Other announcements made at the luncheon were as follows.
There will be no luncheon in the month of June, due to the chamber’s golf tournament on June 14 at Riverside Golf Club. The luncheon for July will feature a speaker from the American Cancer Society. The winner of the chamber’s scholarship were also announced. The winners were Jason Call, Ashely Fields, and Wesley Davis, from Hannan High School, Wahama High School, and Point Pleasant High School, respectively. Those attending were also reminded of the city wide yard sale coming up on June 2.