Memorial Day 2016 - Thanking a True Soldier

Permalink +

Thu, May 26, 2016, 5:23 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Chris Brown of Growing Veterans

The message below was written by Christopher Brown, who co-founded Growing Veterans, a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans from all wars who are experiencing physical and mental trauma from their military service.  Chris is moving from the position of Executive Director to that of President.  As we approach Memorial Day, a holiday more known for being a day off for baseball or BBQ, we should acknowledge the achievements of veterans like Chris for taking up the shameful slack left by a government that shirks its own responsibility for adhering to what President Lincoln promised, "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan."  I wrote earlier about this organization in an article entitled Growing Veterans where I outlined the excellent results achieved by the group.  It is now time to recognize one of its founders.  Chris writes:

"Reflection & Transition
 
In 2008, I left three combat deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan carrying a tremendous amount of survivor’s guilt, due to the fact that forty-one of the Marines from my unit who deployed with me, never made it home to their families. While learning to manage my Post-traumatic Stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and physical injuries, I made a commitment to pursue a life that would bring healing to myself and other veterans who were lucky enough to come home as well. This is the only way I am able to truly recognize and honor those sacrifices. My long term goal would be to become a licensed counselor in order to help veterans who have endured combat trauma. Knowing my ultimate goal was several years away however, I determined to create an organization that could empower military veterans to grow food, communities, and each other.

By 2012, my pursuits had introduced me to many incredible people and experiences, all of which pointed to the reality that using a sustainable farm as the platform for veteran peer-support and broader community engagement, could lead to meaningful outcomes. Not only did I know I would have eternal regrets if I didn’t make an effort, I couldn’t think of a better way to live up to the sacrifices of the “41 Fallen”.

As a result, I put the word out, and stars seemed to align when several people told me I needed to talk to a remarkable person, who would end up helping create the organization. She happened to be a licensed counselor in her former career and had spent the past few years as an organic farmer. Christina Wolf would become Growing Veterans’ Co-founder and continues to be the lifeline of the organization.

Since that first season and over the past three years, we have become a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and grown to over 550 members, 10 paid staff, and three primary farm sites, totaling 43.5 acres. We run a weekly Farmer’s Market stand at the largest VA Hospital in the Pacific Northwest and produce annual yields of nearly 40,000 pounds of vegetables. We’ve certified over 30 trainees in our new Peer Support Training program, launched in January 2016, in order to facilitate a culture of peer support that extends beyond our fields. We’ve been fortunate to receive two national awards for innovation, as well as positive marks and continued evaluations by the federal VA’s Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Center of Innovation of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR). Individuals and groups from over 30 states around the country have asked us to help them create a project like ours, which has led us to begin developing a robust training program that will invite groups from around the United States to come and learn our model.

We have certainly been busy. Our progress and our successes are largely due to the incredibly hard work and perseverance of our dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as the powerful support of our donors. Growing Veterans would not exist without each and every one of you and I could not be more grateful. You have helped turn an idea into a reality that has made a positive impact on hundreds of lives. A lot has been accomplished, but there is still much work to be done.

I am honored and blessed to play the role I have so far, and I am excited about the future of Growing Veterans. With that, I am writing this letter to formally announce my role with the organization is transitioning from Executive Director, to Board President. I am shifting from everyday tactics and operations, to longer term strategy and governance. As a member of the Board, I will remain a spokesperson and advocate for Growing Veterans and will continue to assist with leadership development.  I am redirecting my time to living out my commitment to the 41 Fallen, to the 15 others from my unit who have suicided since, and the 18-22 veterans in the United States who suicide every day, by providing direct therapy to the veterans who have been impacted most by combat trauma. As I mentioned, my long term mission has always been to become a licensed counselor and I cannot think of a better way to pay it forward, than to perform the very service that likely saved my life and my marriage, seven or eight years ago. More importantly, I will be able to spend more time with my family, who have made sacrifices of their own to support me and Growing Veterans.

I write this letter with utmost confidence, because I know this is a perfect opportunity for the organization to stand on its own merit, to empower the people behind it to take complete ownership, and to bring us into our next stage.

I am eager to announce that over the past year, Growing Veterans’ Development Director, Kenny Holzemer, has been preparing to assume the role of Executive Director and help lead us through these next stages of development. Kenny is retired from the Navy, an MBA, and one of the most caring and competent individuals I know. Over the past few months Kenny and I, along with Christina Wolf, have spent countless hours together. We have had several discussions with our staff, and we are ready to see Kenny in action as our new Executive Director. I hope you will have the chance to get to know him soon.

As Growing Veterans enters this exciting new stage of development, I want to say thank you for helping get us this far. I also want to ask that you reflect on what you might be able to contribute, in order to strengthen your support for our mission. We will need all of you more than ever.

If you are reading this as a volunteer, donor, advocate, or staff member—you continue to play a crucial role in the success of Growing Veterans’ mission. I know from firsthand accounts that we are saving lives, but I also know that there are still veterans ending their lives every day. So I am asking that you continue to trust and support our mission of empowering veterans to grow food, communities, and each other-- to the fullest extent you are able. I know I will.

-Christopher Brown
Co-founder & President of Growing Veterans"

Thank you, Chris, for your selfless dedication to veterans.

Dick Conoboy  //  Sun, May 29, 2016, 9:38 am

I received an email about this piece in which the sender reminded me that Memorial Day was established to remember the fallen.  I wrote back: “GV is tied tightly to Memorial Day to ensure that those who served do not become casualties to be remembered but productive and healthy citizens.  The citizenry needs to know that.  It is one thing to plant little flags, it is another to plant seeds.”


Memorial Day 2016 - Thanking a True Soldier

This veteran, Chris Brown, deserves our deep thanks for his achievement with Growing Veterans as Executive Director, a post that he has left. He will continue as President…

Dick Conoboy
Thu, May 26, 2016, 5:23 am
1 comments; last on May 29, 2016

Singing the Comp Plan Blues

As the city council takes up consideration of the comprehensive plan, citizen input is critical. Otherwise in a few years and in response to housing and land use…

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 23, 2016, 5:21 am
0 comments


Uber: Supporting the Troops?

Uber, the cheap ride taxi company, is targeting the troops to become drivers in ads disguised as articles in publications such as the Army Times.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 16, 2016, 5:20 am
0 comments

Report on City Council Retreat

The Bellingham City Council conducted a retreat on 16 April to discuss a number of issues, including a set of proposed strategies to ensure "sustainable services."

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 5:14 am
0 comments

$15 Minimum Wage - Assured Debt Peonage

Accelerating efforts across the U.S. to install a $15 minimum wage are playing into the hands of big business and codifying enormously insufficient wages for years to come.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 5:25 am
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Durham, NH, - Surprise! - Rental Inspections Worked

Durham is an example of the efficacy of rental inspections, putting to bed the unsupported objections of landlords by presenting facts about conditions.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 2:20 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016

Stop the Rental Fires Now!

Inspections of rentals cannot begin too soon. Seven fires in rental units since 2011 and almost half with ONE landlord. No but the clock may be running out.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Feb 08, 2016, 6:26 am
0 comments

Super Bowl 50 - Wretched Excess

From all the monumentally boring hoopla to the shameful rousting of the homeless Super Bowl 50 exceeds all expectations for greed and excess.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Feb 05, 2016, 12:45 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 12, 2016

Mayor Picks Lisa Anderson for City Planning Commission

Lisa Anderson will fill the remaining term of real estate broker, Cerise Noah. who left the Bellingham Planning Commission several months ago.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 2:53 pm
0 comments

Say Nein to Uber

Uber has started a new type of public taxi service in many cities, including Bellingham. It is controversial.

Dick Conoboy
Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 12:04 pm
3 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016

WA State Minimum Wage Initiative - A Race To The Bottom

Raising the minimum wage to $13.50/hr by 2020 cements workers into permanent slave wages that cannot pay the bills.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 6:35 am
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2016

Planning Commission Opening Calls for Neighborhood Rep

The Planning Commission has a vacancy. Now is the time for the appointment of a member who represents the interests of the neighborhoods.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 6:29 am
0 comments

Update on Lincoln Street Student Housing Project

The student housing project for 648 individuals called NXNW (North by Northwest) on Lincoln Street is moving forward briskly. This is an update.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 6:41 am
7 comments; last on Dec 27, 2015

Accessory Dwelling Units - There Is No Rush

There is no reason to rush an updated ordinance on ADUs when we do not even know what the current number is or where existing illegal units are…

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 5:30 am
9 comments; last on Dec 10, 2015

Veterans Day and Thanking Veterans

Some personal thoughts on thanking our veterans for their service

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Nov 11, 2015, 5:23 am
1 comments; last on Nov 11, 2015

Growing Veterans

Growing Veterans was created to empower military veterans to grow food, communities, and each other.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Nov 02, 2015, 9:04 am
2 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

$15/hr Minimum Wage - Seriously?

Moves to set the minimum wage to $15, even if successful, are woefully insufficient. And why aren't people speaking out about abusive work scheduling?

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 5:00 am
2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2015

The Hansen’s Giant Rental Megaplex - Part 2

While the city deals with permitting on the Hansen rental megaplexes, the council has asked for proposals from staff on design standards for historic areas.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 10:14 am
9 comments; last on Aug 08, 2015

Kudos to Our Police

Bellingham police are obviously trained to de-escalate armed confrontations. This is the way it should be.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 5:38 am
6 comments; last on Jul 14, 2015

Family Home For Rent: $44,000/year

For Rent: York neighborhood, new, 7 bedroom single-family home, near WWU. Only $44,000 a year. City planning not paying attention.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 5:34 am
6 comments; last on Jul 09, 2015

Fireworks and Clay Butler

If your 4th of July holiday is much more quiet this year, you can thank Clay Bulter who passed away at the end of May.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 7:47 am
0 comments

A Tale of Three Rezones

The Samish Neighborhood Plan has been the subject of three undesired rezones in the last year. The city ignores its own guidelines to the detriment of all.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Jun 29, 2015, 5:00 am
0 comments

Hansen-Iron Street Rental Megaplex Planned for York Neighborhood

Three extraordinarily large (7-bedroom) single family home rentals are proposed by developers Dave and Jon Hansen on Iron St. in the York Neighborhood.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Jun 01, 2015, 3:49 am
7 comments; last on Jun 10, 2015

Student Housing Project Revived for Lincoln St. Development Site

The Puget Neighborhood is about to become a bit more crowded but less than originally planned. 600+ students to be housed south of Fred Meyer.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Apr 09, 2015, 5:03 am
6 comments; last on Apr 12, 2015

County Meth Ordinance Sent Back to Committee

The Whatcom County Council has sent discussion on changing the meth ordinance back to the Public Works, Health and Safety Committee

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 5:00 am
0 comments

Dealing with Meth Contamination - A Race to the Bottom in Whatcom County

In a hearing, possibly on 3 March, the Whatcom County Council will consider an ordinance changing the rules for contaminated meth use sites.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 6:31 am
1 comments; last on Feb 27, 2015

Rent-to-Own Scam on Tenants

Not all rent-to-own propositions are an unwise method to buy a home but some are schemes to rip off the unsuspecting tenant.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Feb 09, 2015, 6:00 am
0 comments

Bellingham City Council Approves Rental Inspections

7-0! City Council Unanimous. Rentals Will Be Inspected in Bellingham. Thanks go to WWU students for speaking out to city council.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Dec 16, 2014, 3:51 pm
5 comments; last on May 03, 2015

Council Moving Rapidly on Rental Registration and Inspections

The Bellingham City Council has added an inspection component to the registration-only rental ordinance proposal of Councilmember Murphy

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 5:05 am
4 comments; last on Dec 16, 2014

New Year’s Eve and Consumer Fireworks - Ban in Effect

The ban on consumer fireworks that took effect last summer is valid all year, even New Year's Eve

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Dec 10, 2014, 6:37 am
1 comments; last on Dec 11, 2014

Campus View Apartment Project Officially Defunct

Campus Crest Communities, Inc. has officially offered for sale the Lincoln St. property that was to be a student apartment development.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:15 am
2 comments; last on Nov 24, 2014

Lincoln Street Apartment Development May Be Abandoned

The Campus Crest apartment complex may be the "victim" of a corporate restructuring plan.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Nov 06, 2014, 6:53 am
3 comments; last on Nov 10, 2014

Rental Conditions -  A Real Estate Inspector’s View

An experienced real estate inspector provides a window to the dangeroous conditions found in rentals in Bellingham

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Oct 03, 2014, 10:26 am
3 comments; last on Oct 05, 2014

Hickory, Dickory, Docketing…Yet Another Spot Rezone

Last Thursday, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the docketing of the spot rezone of 801 Samish from Residential Single to Commerical Planned (non-retail)

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:07 am
6 comments; last on Oct 03, 2014

Councilmember Murphy’s Proposed Rental Ordinance Is Deeply Flawed

Councilmember Murphy's proposal is based on a complaint-based rental ordinance from Tacoma, demonstrated to do little for the health and safety of tenants.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 8:00 am
14 comments; last on Oct 01, 2014

Plan Commission & Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing

In contravention of the Bellingham Municipal Code, the City Council will consider on 4 August a last minute docketing request that ignores the Planning Commission and Samish Neighborhood.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am
1 comments; last on Jul 31, 2014

Intrado Not to Intrude in Bellingham

The city council "persuades" the city administration to withdraw a request for an intrusive police threat warning system

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Jul 08, 2014, 8:20 am
2 comments; last on Jul 09, 2014

DOJ Grant Brings Confusion and Anger to City Council Meeting

The Bellingham Police Department wants to purchase "threat assessment" software with federal monies. Citizen comments were vehement and negative. City Council confused.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 10:24 am
5 comments; last on Jul 03, 2014

Fireworks Ban in Bellingham in Effect as of 18 June

The possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 7:53 am
1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Planning or Development Commission?

Every Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am
4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

Anatomy of a Development Part XII - Citizens Win Against University Ridge

Ambling University Development Group pulls out. University Ridge will not be built.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Apr 02, 2014, 6:00 am
12 comments; last on Apr 06, 2014

Is ALEC Jr. Coming to Whatcom County or Bellingham Soon?

The infamous American Legislative Exchange Council plans to send its spawn to cities and counties throughout the U.S.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 8:28 am
1 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014

Panem et Circenses - Why I Did Not Watch “The Super Bowl”

Professional and even college sports have morphed into a circus of corporate greed and the fleecing of the public.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Feb 03, 2014, 6:30 am
3 comments; last on Mar 02, 2014

Anatomy of a Development Part XI - The Doldrums at University Ridge

The developers of University Ridge have been silent since shortly after the hearing examiner's decision on 23 October last year. Will they walk?

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 6:14 am
0 comments

The Bellingham “Riot” - Let’s Expand the Conversation

The post "riot" conversation is terribly lacking in several areas. We must expand the discussion or risk learning little from the experience.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Dec 05, 2013, 6:00 am
3 comments; last on Dec 15, 2013

Walmart and McDonald’s - Partners in Institutionalized Cluelessness

The advice coming from Walmart and McDonald's to its low paid employees becomes more and more bizarre and inane.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Nov 20, 2013, 6:03 am
0 comments

Anatomy of a Development - Part X Appeals of the Hearing Examiner’s Decision

Ambling's motion to the hearing examiner for reconsideration was definitively rejected. The developer has not met the deadline for an appeal to the Superior Court

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 6:35 am
0 comments

Puget Neighborhood Likely New Home for 1,300 Students

Puget Neighborhood will likely have in the immediate future 1,300 new rental units that will be marketed primarily to the student population.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 6:16 am
0 comments

Health Insurance Scams - Washington Not Spared

The call of the dollar speaks more loudly to health insurance companies than does the voice and well-being of the consumer, even here in Washington.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Nov 04, 2013, 10:55 am
8 comments; last on Nov 06, 2013

Anatomy of a Development - Part IX BMC Rule of Three Thwarts Plans

Four bedroom dorm rooms have been nixed by the hearing examiner. University Ridge may be in trouble as a cash cow for Ambling Development of Georgia

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Oct 31, 2013, 11:19 am
3 comments; last on Nov 04, 2013

Dick’s Picks for City Council - Burr and Petree

Independent voters are for independent thinkers on the city council. Vote for Burr and Petree.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 1:00 am
0 comments

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part VIII The 12 October Riot and University Ridge

The development of University Ridge will replicate the student ghetto that fueled the riot on 12 October.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 4:16 pm
6 comments; last on Oct 25, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part VII The Hearing on University Ridge

Hearing held on 11 September. Comment period extended 10 days. Effects on home owners already manifest.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 8:09 am
8 comments; last on Sep 23, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part VI Hearing Examiner Date Set - A Broken Process

The University Ridge process works only to the benefit of the developers. The public is offered tight deadlines and insufficient information.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 5:00 am
1 comments; last on Sep 21, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part V The SEPA Determination

The University Ridge dormitory development approval process is broken. The City Council should act.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 5:00 am
1 comments; last on Aug 17, 2013

Charter Schools Redux - Primary Election for School Board upon Us

Candidates for the Bellingham School Board need to let us know where they stand on charter schools.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 11:22 am
3 comments; last on Aug 06, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part I The Variance

A variance request without merit is the centerpiece of a development proposal to construct a complex of four dormitory-style buildings among single family homes in the Puget Neighborhood

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 8:04 pm
0 comments

D-Day 6 June 2013

D-Day forgotten.

Dick Conoboy
Thu, Jun 06, 2013, 6:30 pm
0 comments

Skip the Fireworks - Send Money to Support Our Troops

You can give your money, normally dished out to fireworks manufacturers and distributors, to organizations that help our disabled veterans. Change the way we celebrate Independence Day.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 20, 2013, 12:48 pm
0 comments

University Ridge Dormitory, The Infill Tool Kit and Our Neighborhoods

Some very important issues with respect to the University Ridge private dormitory project in the Puget Neighborhood will not be considered in the approval process.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 13, 2013, 3:50 am
10 comments; last on Jun 30, 2013

 

About NWCitizen

Donations maintain site

Our writers
Thru the years

Election Links

Jeff Strung / WA Auditor

Mike LaPointe / US Congress

League of Women Voters

Calendar of Events

Home page
Videos of Districting Committee

Local Online News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Cascadia Weekly
Coal Stop
Ferndale Record
KGMI
KPLU fm radio
Latte Republic
Lynden Tribune
Noisy Waters
Northern Light
Seattle Times
Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut C. Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Powder River Basin R. C.
RE Sources
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Our Governments

- Whatcom County

Bellingham
Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US House
US Senate
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State
Whatcom COG

NWCitizen 1995-2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?

Local Leisure

Adventures NW

Bellingham Wins
Entertainment NNW
Recreation Northwest

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
AlterNet.org
Antiwar.com
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The
Change The Mascot
Common Dreams
counterpunch
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Doonesbury
Drudge Report
Edge of Sports
FiveThirtyEight
Foreign Policy in Focus
GlobalPost
Guardian
Gulf News
Haaretz
Huffington Post
Innocence Project
Irish Times
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
MoveOn.org
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
NMFA
numbers
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Reuters
Sea Shepherd
Slate
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
TED
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
Tom Paine.com
truthout
Vox
War and Piece
Washington Votes
WikiLeaks.ch
ynetnews.com

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Register

Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
HamsterTalk
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Jack Petree
MikeatthePort
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Orcinus
Post-Oklahoman
Protect Bellingham Parks
Sweeney Politics
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders