Returning home from combat or extended duty, veterans and active duty soldiers often feel disconnected: alone, exhausted, depressed, and afraid. When faced with extended physical recovery periods, veterans also experience significant uncertainties, adding to the challenges these individuals face after sacrificing their peace and safety to serve their country. In one study of Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans, it was estimated that 30 percent of returning soldiers would suffer PTSD in their lifetime.
While the Veterans’ Outdoor Fund doesn’t provide professional medical services, it does provide relief in the form of a human, primal need: time in nature. This program takes veterans of all kinds—wounded or not—and guides them into the outdoors with a supportive group. Experiencing safe, organized events, veterans can heal in nature and bond with fellow warfighters suffering from similar mental anguish and depression.
Hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor expeditions are led by real hunters and anglers, some of them veterans who know where participants have been and how to work through the pain and adjustment of coming home. It doesn’t matter when they served or where, all veterans who need a little peace from the experiences of war, service, and the stresses of modern life are welcome at the Veterans Outdoor Fund.
In March of 2001, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, America's oldest veterans organization, founded the Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund (ORHF). The organization sought to help wounded veterans venture into the outdoors after receiving medical care for serious injuries. In December 2012, ORHF became its own entity and since that time has continued to make the joys of outdoor recreation a reality again for thousands of veterans. In March 2017, the organization changed its name to Veteran's Outdoor Fund (VOF).