REDMOND, Ore. - As a part of their local community service efforts, two central Oregon Rotary clubs have joined together to assist the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch south of Redmond for the second time in three years.
Volunteers from the Redmond Rotary Club and the Mt. Bachelor Rotary Club in Bend along with a number of local veteran volunteers have been hard at work over the past two months building a Peace Garden at the ranch. The garden is a contemplative spot located in a quiet corner of the ranch.
The Peace Garden includes a small plaza with a near life-size bronze sculpture – Eagle Man – which was created by a local Vietnam veteran and cast at the foundry in Joseph, Oregon.
Harold Elliot was 100% Service-Connected for Post-Traumatic Stress and Agent Orange-Related Parkinson’s. He created Eagle Man to symbolize the warrior and honor all veterans, Native and non-Native. Sadly, the veteran passed away in 2017, but he donated his work to the Veterans Ranch. The Foundry estimated the sculpture’s wholesale value at $25,000.
Surrounding this dramatic and beautiful statue are planting beds and eventually several benches to create a serene setting for residents and visitors to enjoy. Engraved pavers along the walkways memorialize veterans, families and businesses who support the efforts of the Veterans Ranch.
Land Effects, a local landscaping company, donated labor and materials, and many local individuals and businesses provided services, materials and plants to the project as well.
After many delays related to weather earlier this spring, the project was finished on Wednesday – just in time for the Armed Forces Day plant sale at the ranch this Saturday. (The greenhouse where the plants were grown was built in 2017 a local service project from all nine of the central Oregon Rotary clubs.)
The projects were funded through contributions from the local Rotary clubs and matching grants from the Rotary District, but would not have been possible without the leadership of Marv Kaplan from the Redmond Rotary Club.
“This garden is a key part of the healing experience at the ranch and we are grateful for our relationship with the Rotary,” said Ronald Ford, chairman of the board of the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.
Central Oregon Veterans Ranch was established as a nonprofit organization in September of 2014. The organization was started by a group of veterans, veteran family members and health care workers in conjunction with founder Alison Perry, Licensed Professional Counselor and trauma therapist.
Perry realized that what was often missing for her veteran clients, especially those on 70% to 100% disability, was community – connection to other veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress or post-military readjustment challenges.
Perry envisioned a place where veterans could come together in community; learning, working, and where the generative aspects of the natural world might help heal the often destructive impact of combat trauma. A place where veterans could restore their sense of purpose and renew their spirit.
The Central Oregon Veterans Ranch is on a 19-acre property between Bend and Redmond. For more information: https://www.covranch.org/