Veterans Celebrate Sober Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, 13 veterans gathered at the Veteran Victory Farm in New Hampshire to give thanks and celebrate the holiday sober and among friends – a first for many of them after decades of battling addiction, the Boston Globe reported Nov. 27.

Victory Farm offers homeless veterans in recovery a place to recharge. Leslie Lightfoot, who served as an Army medic during the Vietnam War, created the program with the belief that isolated farm work equates to empowering, team-oriented therapy that can renew a sense purpose and boost self-esteem among veterans who operated in a structured, disciplined environment while in the military.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, private donations, and contributions from clients who can afford to pay.

Vets live in two-story residences for up to two years. They stay busy on the 80 acres of New Hampshire farmland by taking on responsibilities such as growing vegetables and raising the farm's large variety of animals, including horses, cows, goats, dogs, ducks, chickens, pigs, and donkey.

Phil Gray, a Marine Corps veteran awarded two Bronze Stars in Vietnam, said the last time he enjoyed a family Thanksgiving was in the mid-1990s. “The only time I can really remember a good one is when I was a kid; the early '70s, maybe,” fellow veteran Bradford Collier added.

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