Thanks for Guy Kovner's article on the Veterans Village project coming to Guerneville ("A home for those who served,"
Nov. 23). Members of Sonoma County Veterans For Peace have been searching for just such a concrete form of outreach
for returning veterans for a long time. We're delighted that this first seedling of Nadia McCaffrey's vision is taking root
here in our county.
The Veterans Administration does many things well, but it is overwhelmed by the large numbers of returnees and the
depth of their needs. New vets today are given insufficient tools and time to transition from war zone to civilian life, just
as it was in the past. The lesson of the Vietnam veteran has only been half-learned: We don't confuse the warrior with the
But if we don't actively bring the returnee into the folds of the community, we fail those who have served, and we fail the
community. Neighborhoods will be torn by alienation, suffering and homelessness. We owe it to ourselves to engage.
To learn more about the vision, goals and development of the Guerneville project and others across the United States
look to VeteransVillage.org. The project is completely apolitical.
Co-President, Veterans For Peace, Sonoma County Chapter
|Workshops for Veterans and Military Families
|Conferences, Meets, Retreats, Resources etc...
Through the arts helping Iraq Veterans create new beginnings
The foundation for this project is the creative spirit of God that weaves hope and peace in the midst of daunting
We invite all who are moved by compassion to help our wounded veterans and their families as they try to build new
The vision for Rabbit Run Studio is to provide a tranquil setting for those who are drawn to the creative and visual arts. The
goal for this country place is to provide a nurturing haven for rejuvenation and vision building for all that come.
Wives of war, San Diego
Hi Nadia, I just got off the phone with Brigid and she said to touch
base with you about the upcoming Mother's Day Women's Day Retreat we
are putting together for wives and mothers who are caring for their
sons or husbands from the Iraq war.
We plan on having around 7-10 women attend.
The day retreat we held in Santa Cruz was wonderful and look forward
to continuing to provide support and nurturing for all you
caregivers!! We are looking for a little support/funding for goodie
bags we like to give to each woman. Brigid said you offered to put
this on your web site. Thank you so much. My hope is to continue to
develop day/weekend retreats for women and eventually for the wounded
vets using art/writing as part of the healing process. Since I am
comfortable with day workshops/retreats, I am starting off small and
growing as the needs arise. Hope all is well with you!!! I have
colleagues and friends who live in New York and Pennsylvania. One of
these days I would like to brainstorm with you about doing some
retreats in Rochester and Albany. I know a lot is unfolding as to
your vision in these areas. Future dreams..... Hope to talk with
you soon. Tama Dumlao
Sonoma West News
Unique food, peace and farmer event coming to French Garden
Sept. 14 event links Iraq vet with white linen evening
BROTHERS IN FARMS — Members of the “Farms Not Arms” group participated in a recent Petaluma Farmers Market. Pictured from left
is: Josh Anderson, Colin Sillerud, Lily Schneider, Matt McCue and Sufyan Bunch. –
Sebastopol’s French Garden Restaurant will lay out the white tablecloths for a special afternoon dinner on Sunday, Sept. 14,
from 3 to 6 p.m. to help launch a new collaboration between seasoned farmers and energetic young veterans looking for
their place in the current food revolution.
“Farms Not Arms,” headquartered in Petaluma is sponsoring this event to promote the Farmer-Veteran Coalition.
Produce for the event is grown by Iraq war vet Matt McCue and his crew, including other veterans, on the French Garden
Farm nearby, according to Dan Smith, owner of both the restaurant and the farm.
Executive Chef Didier Gerbi is transforming the dinner menu.
Longtime organic farmer with Del Cabo Organic and Project Director of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, Michael O’Gorman
said he was very excited to announce that his friend George Naylor, Iowa soybean and corn farmer, and Past President of
the National Family Farm Coalition, will be the event’s keynote speaker.
“There is no one in the entire country,” O’Gorman said, “that can explain how agricultural practices, policies and politics have created the
dire situation our food production is in.”
Much of Michael Pollan’s recent book, “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” was dedicated to Naylor and filled with references to his first-hand
observations. Pollan is also involved with the Slow Food movement, which emphasizes preserving traditional food sources and educating
people about food as a center of community.
“There truly is a revolution going on in food and farming,” O’Gorman said, “and Sonoma County is Ground Zero for it – the
growing public demand for healthier, fresher, more diverse, and most importantly, locally grown food. But we can’t make it happen, unless
we reverse the 200-year-old trend of having fewer and fewer American farmers. Farming is a life-long commitment to long hours and
physical work. We will not find the farmers without reaching out to the two million young Americans who have come out of the military since
Matt McCue, who served a year in Iraq, now spends his days tending dozens of fruits and vegetables grown at the French Garden
Farm. What isn’t used at the restaurant is sold at farmers markets around the area. “The greatest therapy,” says Matt, “is that it is
difficult. I am challenged every day to learn and do new things.”
Matt’s opinions were echoed by his friend and fellow Army Vet, Sufyan Bunch, who works as Veteran Outreach Coordinator for the Farmer-
Veteran project. “Vets don’t want help,” the young business student said, “They want opportunity. This is the perfect time to get into this
new type of farming.”
Also speaking at the dinner will be Nadia McCaffrey, Gold Star Mother of Sergeant Patrick Ryan McCaffrey, who died in Iraq in
June of 2004. Nadia grew up on her Grandfather’s organic farm in Southern France, and is Founder of Veterans Village, an important
part of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition. Veterans Village is working to create farms around the country that veterans can go to and help
each other heal the wounds of war.
According to O’Gorman, the inspiration for the Farmer-Veteran Coalition came when three Gold Star Moms, including
McCaffrey, Mary Tillman, and Dolores Kesterson, all showed up last spring at a small gathering of farmers at Swanton Berry
Farm in Davenport to discuss creating jobs for returning vets. “It was there, standing with these women in a berry field
overlooking the Pacific Ocean, that we realized our farms could do more than just offer employment.”
Honored guest Daniel Ellsberg will be present. He is a former American military analyst who precipitated a national firestorm in 1971
when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study of government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to the NY Times and
Shepherd Bliss, a Vietnam era veteran, will also be speaking. Shepherd Bliss resigned his commission in the U.S. Army Reserves
to protest the Vietnam War. He has run Kokopelli Farm in Sebastopol since l992. He currently teaches at Sonoma State University and
writes about agropsychology and agrotherapy. He honors the oral tradition of taking poetry into the heart and then reciting it.
The French Garden Restaurant is located at 8050 Bodega Avenue in Sebastopol. CA
Tickets for the dinner are $100 and are available from the Farmer-Veteran Coalition at
www.farmvetco.org or 707-981-8010.
Dinner is from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Limited seating is available.
Swanton Berry Farm
invites you to a special benefit dinner
“The Farmer Veteran Coalition Project”
Saturday November 15th
Meet our Gold Star Mothers:
Marie Tillman & Nadia McCaffrey
Veterans and Farmers
6PM at the Swanton Berry Farm-Stand in Davenport CA
Join us for special appetizers followed by Organic Spaghetti Pasta with Dry Farm Tomato
Marinara, Warm Bread with Local Goat Cheese Baked with Chadwick Garden Garlic
and Herbs, Peak of Season Salad, Judge Family Vineyard Wine, Flowers and Herbs
from the Homeless Garden Project
A fine meal finishing with our own Strawberry Shortcake
& Coffee from the Community Action Network
Call to reserve a space or for advance tickets call:
Layla 831-246-4897 firstname.lastname@example.org
or Forrest 831-469-8804 email@example.com
or online at www.farmsnotarms.org
Location- Hwy 1, Two miles North of Davenport, CA
US News, crime, military
I live in a housing village on Fort Hood. On November 4th, at approximately 1:30 PM, the emergency alarms went
off. I was expecting to hear that this was a test of the “Emergency Alert System.” Instead, I heard, “Attention. Seek
shelter immediately. Close all doors and windows. Turn off all ventilation systems. Seek shelter immediately.
Close all doors and windows. Turn off all ventilation systems.” Then the alarms went off again. And again. Every
A great deal of confusion followed For the next two hours there were many rumors about what was happening,
including a shooting at the PX and in one of the villages. My husband, who was off-post with our children (who
thankfully got out of school at 1 PM that day and were with him) was unable to come on post as it was on lock down.
He called me and insisted that I not only stay in the house but that I stay on the second floor and away from the
Around 6:30 PM, Fort Hood lifted the lock down that had prevented anyone from entering or leaving. From CNN, I
learned the details of the mass murder that had occurred less than 15 minutes away from our home at the place my
husband had visited on numerous occasions in preparation for his tour to Iraq and as part of his reintegration upon
his unit’s return.
As soon as the news began covering the shooting, I started receiving emails and phone calls from people who were
worried about me. People I barely know have extended their thoughts and prayers to me and my family. I have not
responded to 99 percent of these people, including family. I have not talked about the shooting since it occurred. I
have talked about the shooter, Major Hasan, but not about the shooting itself.
Today, ten days later, I went to the shoppette with another spouse who lives about six houses down the street from
me. The first thing I saw when I entered the store was two racks of this week’s TIME magazine with Major Hasan’s
military photo on the cover, life-sized and large. It was like being punched in the stomach. My first reaction was
disgust. Then anger. I turned to my friend and told her, “I don’t even talk about what happened! Who the hell are
they to talk about it?” So naturally I had to buy the magazine and find out what they had to say.
(You know what? If no magazine was making the shooting an issue, that probably would have upset me, too. It is all
This got me thinking about why I don’t talk about the shooting. People keep asking me if I am okay. I don’t know
how to answer that question. Yes? No? Maybe? This is a loaded question for those of us who have to answer it.
I feel a great deal of guilt. I feel guilty when concern is extended to me. I feel unworthy of that concern. I feel
unworthy because of the horror experienced by the men and women in the building with that man on that day. How
can anyone worry about ME or anyone else who wasn’t in the building that day? We are the blessed and fortunate
ones of that day. Our scare was that of the unknown, of the wondering. Our trauma was theoretical, not
I was recently contacted by Dr. John Ryan, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Virginia Technical Institute—now
known for the Cho mass murders. Dr. Ryan wanted to find a way to come to Fort Hood after the shooting. He and
his team focus on helping not the immediate victims of mass shootings, but those in the larger community. Dr. Ryan
explained that their “work begins from the premise that, in tightly bonded communities, such attacks are attacks on
the whole community, not just the most immediate victims.”
I am trying to get Dr. Ryan and his team access to families at Fort Hood. I don’t know whether this will be granted. I
know that no one I know here is talking about the shootings. Again, there is talk about the shooter, but not about
the event itself. Of course, everywhere else in America, this was something worth talking about. So why aren’t we?
Part of me wonders if it is not because we live on the military post that has lost the most soldiers in the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan. We also have soldiers committing suicide as well as murdering fellow soldiers (or spouses). Yes,
what Major Hasan did was extraordinary in HOW MANY soldiers he killed and WHERE he killed them, but haven’t we
come to expect death as part of our lives, in one place or another, one form or another? We grieve for the families
who lose a soldier and we thank God that it Besides, our leadership proudly tells the media that this messy matter
was taken care of quickly and that training and missions continue. Move along, nothing more to see here. Did
Hasan really change anything?
Arguably, he made military lives worse. Soldiers are unable to feel safe on post, as well as families. Children
already burdened with trust and mortality issues probably lost the most that day (of those of us in the larger
community). The day after the shooting, my eight-year-old son asked me why there were soldiers with guns at his
school. I explained they were there to protect him. He responded, “wasn’t the bad man a soldier?”
Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems.
Of course, the fact that we live and function under these conditions is a badge of honor; a testament to our
resiliency as individuals and as a community. Yet suicides and suicide attempts continue to increase yearly. Our
divorce rate increases every year while the civilian divorce rate is experiencing a 40 year low. Reports of domestic
violence have gone up seventy-five percent in the last seven years.
How much more stress can we endure? How much more resilient can we be as a community? How much more can
be taken from us? If someone like Dr. Ryan wants to help our families in the larger community process what
happened, why wouldn’t Fort Hood let them?
Am I okay? Depends on your definition of okay, I suppose.
Carissa Picard Advocate Attorney Writer
|© 2006-2018, Nadia McCaffrey, the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation & the Veteran's Village, all rights reserved ©
Formed in 2006-2007, the organization is a peace based organization for
members of the military who have served in the war, we are focusing on the Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts, however, this foundation is to help all war veterans . We believe the best way
to support our troops is to bring them home now and take care of them when they get here.