WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Man builds lodge for veterans battling PTSD

The sounds of the battlefield are often triggers for the post-traumatic stress disorder that veterans bring back home...

Posted: Mar 12, 2018 3:41 PM
Updated: Mar 12, 2018 3:41 PM

The sounds of the battlefield are often triggers for the post-traumatic stress disorder that veterans bring back home after their service.

A Kansas City man, who isn't a veteran himself, wants to provide a place for veterans struggling to escape that burden – at least for a little while.

At Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge, it gets pretty loud. Veterans are welcome to bring their own firearms and shoot with their fellow warriors.

Sometimes, combating PTSD isn't a quiet thing.

"If I'm out here somewhere, and I hear a door slam behind me, or a firecracker, I will jump," said Vietnam veteran Chuck Bradbury. "Here, I know what's going on."

"I feel safer with a bunch of vets with guns on the back of a tailgate, than I would at a public range, that I don't know anything about their training," said Chris Wolfenbarger, a veteran who worked as a combat medic in Afghanistan.

But Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge is more than just a makeshift shooting range.

"I worked a year and two months building this," said Orin Jackson, who founded the lodge. "Everything had to be trucked up from KC."

Jackson spent decades as a builder in Kansas City and wanted to use that experience to build this place, mostly with the help of just a few people, to be whatever these vets need it to be.

"We have all the handicap access grab bars for the veterans who need it," Jackson said. "I had over 40 companies that donated the materials to build this center."

He invites veterans, free of charge, to this remote spot in northern Missouri. Specifically, he invites them to a small table in the center of the main room.

"Ever been in a car trying to get on the highway, and your car won't get in the right gear, and it's just shaking? That shaking is your family dealing with your PTSD, because you can't shift into the right gear," said Wolfenbarger.

Away from the city and from their families, talking gets easier gathered around that table.

"Vietnam came back in my 60s," Bradbury said. "I had it bottled up for over 40 years, never said anything."

"I'm screwed up, and it's OK to be screwed up in our little clique," said Donald Ballard, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and supporter of Hickory Hills.

"Every once in a while, you can strike up a conversation, or pick up an old one," said Dan Kellogg, a Desert Storm veteran. "It just gives you something else to focus on."

They talk while they fish, or while they shoot, and when they go home, their loved ones can feel a difference.

"The phone calls that are most meaningful is when the wife calls and says 'You just gave me my husband back,'" Wolfenbarger said.

In the background of all of these moments, you'll find Jackson, often with a big smile on his face, clearly proud that he has a way to say thank you.

"I asked myself what I could do, and this is what I came up with," Jackson said. "It's very fulfilling for me to do what I do."

Any veteran in the Kansas City area is welcome to visit Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge. For more information on how to do that, or how to donate to the lodge, visit the lodge's website.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
99° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 105°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 82°
Oxford
Few Clouds
95° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 100°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
95° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 103°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather