Leila MACOR Agence France-Presse
June 30, 2017
Boynton Beach (United States) (AFP) - US war veteran Chad Brown suffers from PTSD after serving in Iraq and Somalia, has been homeless and classified as mentally disabled, sold his blood for $20 a pop and tried to kill himself.
The NGO Soul River, founded by war veteran Chad Brown, bring together veterans dealing with PTSD and disadvantaged inner city youth for outdoor excursions to help find healing through nature (AFP Photo/Javier GALEANO)
Now he has found some semblance of redemption in the swamps of Florida, mucking around with disadvantaged inner city youths to catch snakes and get a taste of nature as he works to connect with other people.
The project is the brain child of a Portland-based NGO called Soul River. The kids find adult mentors while the vets gain some perspective on life, says Brown, a decorated Navy veteran who founded the organization.
On this particular day Brown is with another vet and five youths in the Loxahatchee nature reserve, on Florida's east coast, when a Burmese python slithers out of a sack that a forestry official had been holding it in.
Later, the group troops off into a swamp with muck up to their hips infested with mosquitos and alligators. But a Florida Everglades guide assures them that the big-toothed critters do not like human flesh. All the humans get are bug bites.
Brown founded Soul River in 2011 after concluding that a simple sport -- fly fishing -- was the only thing that helped him battle his PTSD.
- Natural medicine -
Brown left the Navy in 1994 and bottomed out in 2000 when he was admitted to a psychiatric ward and thought he had lost everything. But life changed when he ventured out into nature. He went fishing.read more here