November 11th, 2017

Oregon Wilderness Camp Serves Recent Combat Veterans

Camp Divide Oregon Veteran Wilderness Camp

Finding Peace On The Other Side Of War
NRA Blog Story by Catherine Parks, Divide Camp Volunteer

For combat veterans there is a great divide between life pre-war and life post-war. Soldiers prepare, train and are equipped to go to a war zone, but, upon returning home, physically and psychologically injured veterans struggle to assimilate back into a normal life. Divide Camp, located in northeastern Oregon, honors the service of post 9-11 combat veterans through small-group outdoor adventures. The non-profit camp offers hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities. Learn More HERE.

Divide Camp provides lodging, home-cooked meals and transportation at no charge to the veterans served. The camp features 40 acres of remote forestland, six cabins, a shop and an outdoor picnic shelter. In 2014, The NRA Foundation funded its first grant to Divide Camp — $15,000 for an Action Trackchair — to allow amputee veterans to traverse the mountain terrain.

Camp Divide Oregon Veteran Wilderness Camp

Another grant in 2015 funded pistol range construction, safety gear and targets. Initial range work for a competition 3-D archery course shootable from a Trackchair began with funding from an NRA Foundation grant in 2016.

Camp Divide Oregon Veteran Wilderness Camp

How Divide Camp Helps Rebuild Lives
Army veteran Jose Martinez stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Following numerous surgeries and months of therapy, Jose was fitted with prosthetics, which allowed him to walk. Still, extreme depression set in and two suicide attempts followed. On his first day at Divide Camp, Jose used the new all-terrain wheelchair to hunt. “I missed the first couple of times, but my friends didn’t give up on me and Divide Camp didn’t give up on me, and I got one the next morning,” Jose said. “Elk hunting was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. How many amputees in California can say they shot an elk?” Jose stayed in a new cabin built to accommodate veterans with disabilities.

Just being in nature is an amazing healer
Julie Wheeler, Divide Camp executive director, has served as a critical incident stress worker to help others prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. She is familiar with what happens when people are exposed to high stress and trauma. “I know it takes a long time to overcome,” Julie said. “I think they need help beyond what’s provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is drugs and therapy. Just being in nature is an amazing healer.”

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Camp Divide Oregon Veteran Wilderness Camp

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