a peace based
the military who
have served in
the war, we are
focusing on the
foundation is to
help all war
veterans . We
believe the best
way to support
our troops is to
home now and
take care of
them when they
Thanks for Guy Kovner's article on the Veterans Village project coming to Guerneville ("A home for those who served," Nov. 23).
Members of Sonoma County Veterans For Peace have been searching for just such a concrete form of outreach for returning
veterans for a long time. We're delighted that this first seedling of Nadia McCaffrey's vision is taking root here in our county.
The Veterans Administration does many things well, but it is overwhelmed by the large numbers of returnees and the depth of
their needs. New vets today are given insufficient tools and time to transition from war zone to civilian life, just as it was in the
past. The lesson of the Vietnam veteran has only been half-learned: We don't confuse the warrior with the war, check.
But if we don't actively bring the returnee into the folds of the community, we fail those who have served, and we fail the
community. Neighborhoods will be torn by alienation, suffering and homelessness. We owe it to ourselves to engage.
To learn more about the vision, goals and development of the Guerneville project and others across the United States look to
VeteransVillage.org. The project is completely apolitical.
Co-President, Veterans For Peace, Sonoma County Chapter
|Workshops for Veterans and Military Families
|Conferences, Meets, Retreats, Resources etc...
Since I have started my long walk home legislation has been passed (the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention act), 200 million dollars has been
allocated for its programs and with in a month or two we will get what they propose for programs for our opinion.
We want to send you that proposal for your input.
We felt that the next logical step in the evolution of the long walk home was to form a coalition so that with unity our voice will be heard more
I know not everyone shares my passion or how to go about achieving it, but I do know that we all want something better then we have now and I
want your voice heard and your organization to be recognized.
Check out the 2 attachments I have sent, one shows how we can help you and the other shows some of the issues and goals we are working now.
If you have trouble opening them please let me know so that we can change it so that you can.
If you do not want to receive anymore correspondence from me please let me know so that I may take you off my list.
Those of you that are with us on this please pass this on to as many others who you think would be interested.
I would like to thank you all, for almost everyone who I am sending this to I have talked to, been listened to, been supported by, encouraged,
inspired, and given hope...... Sincerely Ron
PS We are also working on a media event for Sept 20 near the Ground Zero site to create awareness and network with politicians,
we hope you can make it or be involved in some way.
Through the arts helping Iraq Veterans create new beginnings
The foundation for this project is the creative spirit of God that weaves hope and peace in the midst of daunting circumstances.
We invite all who are moved by compassion to help our wounded veterans and their families as they try to build new beginnings.
The vision for Rabbit Run Studio is to provide a tranquil setting for those who are drawn to the creative and visual arts. The goal for this country place is
to provide a nurturing haven for rejuvenation and vision building for all that come.
Hi Nadia, I just got off the phone with Brigid and she said to touch
base with you about the upcoming Mother's Day Women's Day Retreat we
are putting together for wives and mothers who are caring for their
sons or husbands from the Iraq war.
The event will be held on
Saturday, May 10, 2008.
We plan on having around 7-10 women attend.
The day retreat we held in Santa Cruz was wonderful and look forward
to continuing to provide support and nurturing for all you
caregivers!! We are looking for a little support/funding for goodie
bags we like to give to each woman. Brigid said you offered to put
this on your web site. Thank you so much. My hope is to continue to
develop day/weekend retreats for women and eventually for the wounded
vets using art/writing as part of the healing process. Since I am
comfortable with day workshops/retreats, I am starting off small and
growing as the needs arise. Hope all is well with you!!! I have
colleagues and friends who live in New York and Pennsylvania. One of
these days I would like to brainstorm with you about doing some
retreats in Rochester and Albany. I know a lot is unfolding as to
your vision in these areas. Future dreams..... Hope to talk with
you soon. Tama Dumlao
|Sonoma West News
Unique food, peace and farmer event coming to French Garden
Sept. 14 event links Iraq vet with white linen evening
BROTHERS IN FARMS — Members of the “Farms Not Arms” group participated in a recent Petaluma Farmers Market. Pictured from left is:
Josh Anderson, Colin Sillerud, Lily Schneider, Matt McCue and Sufyan Bunch. –
Sebastopol’s French Garden Restaurant will lay out the white tablecloths for a special afternoon dinner on Sunday, Sept. 14,
from 3 to 6 p.m. to help launch a new collaboration between seasoned farmers and energetic young veterans looking for their
place in the current food revolution.
“Farms Not Arms,” headquartered in Petaluma is sponsoring this event to promote the Farmer-Veteran Coalition.
Produce for the event is grown by Iraq war vet Matt McCue and his crew, including other veterans, on the French Garden Farm
nearby, according to Dan Smith, owner of both the restaurant and the farm.
Executive Chef Didier Gerbi is transforming the dinner menu.
Longtime organic farmer with Del Cabo Organic and Project Director of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, Michael O’Gorman said he
was very excited to announce that his friend George Naylor, Iowa soybean and corn farmer, and Past President of the National
Family Farm Coalition, will be the event’s keynote speaker.
“There is no one in the entire country,” O’Gorman said, “that can explain how agricultural practices, policies and politics have created the dire
situation our food production is in.”
Much of Michael Pollan’s recent book, “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” was dedicated to Naylor and filled with references to his first-hand observations.
Pollan is also involved with the Slow Food movement, which emphasizes preserving traditional food sources and educating people about food
as a center of community.
“There truly is a revolution going on in food and farming,” O’Gorman said, “and Sonoma County is Ground Zero for it – the growing
public demand for healthier, fresher, more diverse, and most importantly, locally grown food. But we can’t make it happen, unless we reverse
the 200-year-old trend of having fewer and fewer American farmers. Farming is a life-long commitment to long hours and physical work. We will
not find the farmers without reaching out to the two million young Americans who have come out of the military since September, 2001.”
Matt McCue, who served a year in Iraq, now spends his days tending dozens of fruits and vegetables grown at the French Garden Farm.
What isn’t used at the restaurant is sold at farmers markets around the area. “The greatest therapy,” says Matt, “is that it is difficult. I am
challenged every day to learn and do new things.”
Matt’s opinions were echoed by his friend and fellow Army Vet, Sufyan Bunch, who works as Veteran Outreach Coordinator for the Farmer-
Veteran project. “Vets don’t want help,” the young business student said, “They want opportunity. This is the perfect time to get into this new
type of farming.”
Also speaking at the dinner will be Nadia McCaffrey, Gold Star Mother of Sergeant Patrick Ryan McCaffrey, who died in Iraq in June
of 2004. Nadia grew up on her Grandfather’s organic farm in Southern France, and is Founder of Veterans Village, an important part of the
Farmer-Veteran Coalition. Veterans Village is working to create farms around the country that veterans can go to and help each other heal the
wounds of war.
According to O’Gorman, the inspiration for the Farmer-Veteran Coalition came when three Gold Star Moms, including McCaffrey,
Mary Tillman, and Dolores Kesterson, all showed up last spring at a small gathering of farmers at Swanton Berry Farm in
Davenport to discuss creating jobs for returning vets. “It was there, standing with these women in a berry field overlooking the
Pacific Ocean, that we realized our farms could do more than just offer employment.”
Honored guest Daniel Ellsberg will be present. He is a former American military analyst who precipitated a national firestorm in 1971 when
he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study of government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to the NY Times and other
Shepherd Bliss, a Vietnam era veteran, will also be speaking. Shepherd Bliss resigned his commission in the U.S. Army Reserves to
protest the Vietnam War. He has run Kokopelli Farm in Sebastopol since l992. He currently teaches at Sonoma State University and writes
about agropsychology and agrotherapy. He honors the oral tradition of taking poetry into the heart and then reciting it.
The French Garden Restaurant is located at 8050 Bodega Avenue in Sebastopol. CA
Tickets for the dinner are $100 and are available from the Farmer-Veteran Coalition at
www.farmvetco.org or 707-981-8010.
Dinner is from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Limited seating is available.
Swanton Berry Farm invites you to a special benefit dinner
“The Farmer Veteran Coalition Project”
Saturday November 15th
Meet our Gold Star Mothers:
Marie Tillman & Nadia McCaffrey
Veterans and Farmers
6PM at the Swanton Berry Farm-Stand in Davenport CA
Join us for special appetizers followed by Organic Spaghetti Pasta with Dry Farm Tomato Marinara, Warm Bread with
Local Goat Cheese Baked with Chadwick Garden Garlic and Herbs, Peak of Season Salad, Judge Family Vineyard Wine,
Flowers and Herbs
from the Homeless Garden Project
A fine meal finishing with our own Strawberry Shortcake
& Coffee from the Community Action Network
Call to reserve a space or for advance tickets call:
Layla 831-246-4897 email@example.com
or Forrest 831-469-8804 firstname.lastname@example.org
or online at www.farmsnotarms.org
Location- Hwy 1, Two miles North of Davenport, CA
|“Wasn’t the Bad Man a Soldier?”
Posted on November 15th, 2009
by Carissa Picard
in Op-ed, Texas News, US Government News, US News, crime, military
|“Wasn’t the Bad Man a Soldier?”
Posted on November 15th, 2009
by Carissa Picard in Op-ed, Texas News, US Government News, US News, crime, military
I live in a housing village on Fort Hood. On November 4th, at approximately 1:30 PM, the emergency
alarms went off. I was expecting to hear that this was a test of the “Emergency Alert System.” Instead, I
heard, “Attention. Seek shelter immediately. Close all doors and windows. Turn off all ventilation
systems. Seek shelter immediately. Close all doors and windows. Turn off all ventilation systems.”
Then the alarms went off again. And again. Every fifteen minutes.
A great deal of confusion followed For the next two hours there were many rumors about what was
happening, including a shooting at the PX and in one of the villages. My husband, who was off-post
with our children (who thankfully got out of school at 1 PM that day and were with him) was unable to
come on post as it was on lock down. He called me and insisted that I not only stay in the house but that
I stay on the second floor and away from the windows.
Around 6:30 PM, Fort Hood lifted the lock down that had prevented anyone from entering or leaving.
From CNN, I learned the details of the mass murder that had occurred less than 15 minutes away from
our home at the place my husband had visited on numerous occasions in preparation for his tour to Iraq
and as part of his reintegration upon his unit’s return.
As soon as the news began covering the shooting, I started receiving emails and phone calls from
people who were worried about me. People I barely know have extended their thoughts and prayers to
me and my family. I have not responded to 99 percent of these people, including family. I have not
talked about the shooting since it occurred. I have talked about the shooter, Major Hasan, but not
about the shooting itself.
Today, ten days later, I went to the shoppette with another spouse who lives about six houses down the
street from me. The first thing I saw when I entered the store was two racks of this week’s TIME
magazine with Major Hasan’s military photo on the cover, life-sized and large. It was like being punched
in the stomach. My first reaction was disgust. Then anger. I turned to my friend and told her, “I don’t
even talk about what happened! Who the hell are they to talk about it?” So naturally I had to buy the
magazine and find out what they had to say.
(You know what? If no magazine was making the shooting an issue, that probably would have upset me,
too. It is all very confusing.)
This got me thinking about why I don’t talk about the shooting. People keep asking me if I am okay. I
don’t know how to answer that question. Yes? No? Maybe? This is a loaded question for those of us
who have to answer it.
I feel a great deal of guilt. I feel guilty when concern is extended to me. I feel unworthy of that
concern. I feel unworthy because of the horror experienced by the men and women in the building with
that man on that day. How can anyone worry about ME or anyone else who wasn’t in the building that
day? We are the blessed and fortunate ones of that day. Our scare was that of the unknown, of the
wondering. Our trauma was theoretical, not experiential.
I was recently contacted by Dr. John Ryan, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Virginia Technical
Institute—now known for the Cho mass murders. Dr. Ryan wanted to find a way to come to Fort Hood
after the shooting. He and his team focus on helping not the immediate victims of mass shootings, but
those in the larger community. Dr. Ryan explained that their “work begins from the premise that, in
tightly bonded communities, such attacks are attacks on the whole community, not just the most
I am trying to get Dr. Ryan and his team access to families at Fort Hood. I don’t know whether this will be
granted. I know that no one I know here is talking about the shootings. Again, there is talk about the
shooter, but not about the event itself. Of course, everywhere else in America, this was something
worth talking about. So why aren’t we?
Part of me wonders if it is not because we live on the military post that has lost the most soldiers in the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also have soldiers committing suicide as well as murdering fellow
soldiers (or spouses). Yes, what Major Hasan did was extraordinary in HOW MANY soldiers he killed
and WHERE he killed them, but haven’t we come to expect death as part of our lives, in one place or
another, one form or another? We grieve for the families who lose a soldier and we thank God that it
wasn’t our soldier and the Big Green Machine keeps churning.
Besides, our leadership proudly tells the media that this messy matter was taken care of quickly and
that training and missions continue. Move along, nothing more to see here. Did Hasan really change
Arguably, he made military lives worse. Soldiers are unable to feel safe on post, as well as families.
Children already burdened with trust and mortality issues probably lost the most that day (of those of us
in the larger community). The day after the shooting, my eight-year-old son asked me why there were
soldiers with guns at his school. I explained they were there to protect him. He responded, “wasn’t the
bad man a soldier?”
Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems.
Of course, the fact that we live and function under these conditions is a badge of honor; a testament to
our resiliency as individuals and as a community. Yet suicides and suicide attempts continue to
increase yearly. Our divorce rate increases every year while the civilian divorce rate is experiencing a
40 year low. Reports of domestic violence have gone up seventy-five percent in the last seven years.
How much more stress can we endure? How much more resilient can we be as a community? How
much more can be taken from us? If someone like Dr. Ryan wants to help our families in the larger
community process what happened, why wouldn’t Fort Hood let them?
Am I okay? Depends on your definition of okay, I suppose.