Rocky Hill veterans find therapy through gardening - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Rocky Hill veterans find therapy through gardening

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(WFSB Photo) (WFSB Photo)

Hard-working veterans are giving back through gardening thanks to some green-thumbed volunteers.

John Mann, a former army airborne member, continued to look for ways to give back after his time in the service.

Then, he came up with an idea.

Four years ago Mann started a "give back garden" at the Veterans Recovery Center in Rocky Hill.

"This here is like therapy. I enjoy it and I wish it could be year round," said Mann.

When he and other veteran volunteers were starting the garden, they would spend several hours a day weeding, planting and tending to the garden.

Hoyt Hight is one of the men who helped with its creation.

"I'm glad to be a part of it. It is fulfilling," said Hight.

However, Hight and Mann have much more in common than just a love of gardening.

Both have suffered from addiction issues and once resorted to soup kitchens for meals.

Laurel Chase, a rehabilitation therapist, said working in the garden gives the men a healthy outlet.

"I see them and in some cases they've expressed, 'I work out my problems while I'm out there. I just weed and my problems seem to get worked out," said Chase.

The men enjoy getting their hands dirty while serving others.

"This program has helped me out tremendously. The VA has been great...couldn't ask for anything better," said Mann.

Anyone interested can donate to the garden here. Mann said they are hoping to get wheelbarrows and tomato stakes.

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