PARRYVILLE, Pa. — A building next to the Rock Hill concrete plant in Parryville has been a dream come true for Ryan Bowman. Seven years ago, the Pennsylvania National Guard veteran started Pennsylvania Outdoor Veterans, a nonprofit that aims to reduce suicide among veterans.
With the opening of the new operations center in Carbon County, Bowman hopes to help even more.
"There's a greater need for veteran services, and it's not only the veterans — it's the families and the caregivers. When a veteran deploys for service, it really is a family deploying."
The center helps vets with transportation, financial assistance, veterans' disability claims, and food insecurities.
Bowman served in Iraq in 2009 and knows the challenges veterans face.
"The transition, really, for veterans, is a difficult one, and it's not just veterans, it's for the families, you know? So they themselves, it'll feel that they're not alone. You know, 'Why is Johnny so angry? Why is Johnny experiencing some depression?'"
"In addition to helping veterans get back up on their feet, Bowman says they use the outdoors to help veterans come together.
"We're doing fishing, we're doing camping, we're doing horseback riding, we're doing hiking," Bowman said. "The peer-to-peer therapeutic model and that you're bringing these veterans together and they're really able to build their camaraderie and then through the camaraderie, they're understanding that they're not alone."
Bowman says this operations center in Parryville is a part of a larger plan that includes a retreat facility and another center in the future.
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