This marks the end of another growing season on the farm, and a mighty productive one at that. With the help of our many volunteers and the kids from Kids Rank, we donated some 1500 lbs of produce to local food pantries, and almost as much was taken home by our veteran and military families. The pumpkins were also taken home by our guests in time for Halloween, and we’re still eating the squash.
We saw many new faces on the farm this year. Many of our guests suffer from PTSD, and found the farm a friendly place to visit. Some of our guests really became attached to our horses, and we recruited a senior from Kids Rank to help with the exercise riding of ‘lil Girl and Beau. Sara has been doing a wonderful job with them, and they look forward to her weekly visits.
We’ve been awarded a grant from the Home Depot Foundation in the amount of $23,200. This grant will be used to repair a family dwelling for two of our heroes. These brothers joined to protect and serve, and both ended up disabled due to their time in service. With the help of The Home Depot Foundation they will have the bathrooms refurbished and the kitchen replaced in their town home, which they share with their mother, sister and younger brother. We will keep you updated as the project gets under way. Hopefully, completion will be before Christmas.
The coffee pot is always on, so if you’re in the area stop by for a cup!
We at the Freedom Farm would like to offer our thanks to all our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on this Veterans Day. We try to do our best to make every day Veterans Day, but on this occasion that’s set aside for the entire nation to stop and remember, we add our own appreciation to that of all American citizens.
We hope all vets and their families know how much we all value their efforts, on behalf of a grateful county.
The partnership between the Freedom Farm and Kids Rank was featured recently by NBC 5 Chicago. Individually, our organizations provide service to our communities in many ways, but together we’re able to offer services we can’t achieve alone. Thanks to all our volunteers! Good job!
These last couple of months have been busy, busy, busy. Kids rank stepped up with a large group to help us get the gardens in and now they are producing like mad. Great job!
We haven’t had the produce to deliver to our local food pantries, as we have in past seasons, due to the demand from our veterans and their families that are in need. We wish we had enough for everyone, but as long as it doesn’t go to waste, we’re glad that someone is benefitting.
‘Lil Girl and Beau have had many visitors throughout the summer; they’ve helped some of our PTSD veterans start the healing process. Horses have a special way of connecting with those who need a friend. As one veteran puts it, they “make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.” I’ve never had it described that way before, but that’s exactly the kind of reaction we’re looking for. It’s a good start for those who feel alone and in need of a friend.
August plans to be just another busy month, with NBC coming out next week to film a special “Kids Rank Down on The farm”. This should be exciting for the kids and their families. Then the Vista Seniors will be having a picnic at the farm on the 23rd. They expect their turnout at around 100, and we’re hoping for good weather for them.
Home Depot will be donating four new picnic tables, a permanent structure for veterans supplies, and will be bringing out the new Kids Rank Clubhouse. Thanks to Mitch Moore and all the Home Depot staff for helping build the farm.
A special thanks goes out to First Bank of Highland Park for featuring us on the Ruth Fell Wander Community Art Wall. Marty Cornett, Don Guzan, and the staff from the bank did a super job!
Have a safe August, and stop by the farm for a cup of coffee. The gate is always open!
To all the veterans who have served our country, both domestic and abroad, we would like to thank you for your sacrifice and service. May you and your families enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day.
Spring has finally sprung! We didn’t post a March update because the farm was either frozen solid or it was all running water and mud; therefore not much happened. (Unless you’re interested in hearing about muddy boots, paws, and hoofs – I didn’t think so.) We did planning for our gardens and started collecting the seeds, so when everything dries out after all this rain we’ll be ready.
We added two new members to our team this year – Kirk Morris, a Gold Star father and a veteran Marine, and Don Guzan a Vietnam veteran and Marine, as well. I will add their bios to the post next month. These two veterans will add some expertise that is needed to move forward completing our mission.
We started doing our spring clean up around the farm, and the warm days have been a nice change. With the large amounts of snow and the deep frost it will be a little while before the soil warms enough to plant, but we’ll be ready.
The Kids Rank group plans to be out on the 10th of May to help us
plant. This will be their first outing of the year. They plan to make
frequent visits this summer, and we always have new surprises for
them; should be a fun summer.
We moved the rose garden inside the farm to better soil, and with the
help from Don Guzan the roses should be excellent this year.
We’ve hit a few bumpy roads on our journey so far, but they won’t stop us from our mission to help our heroes with whatever is needed. We’re working daily, along with many other organizations throughout the country, in an effort to help provide all our veterans the opportunities to return to a healthy happy life. It seems only fitting, after their dedicated service to keep us free and safe.
Stop by for a visit and see our little piece of heaven on earth, whether you’re a veteran yourself, family, or just someone who’d like to help, or say, “Thank you for your service.”
The month of February was a book end to January; snow, ice and really cold – in other words normal winter.
The amount of snow and ice caused some hazardous conditions on the farm, mostly on the drive. The horses had no problems but the chickens and ducks didn’t venture too far from their homes (they don’t like cold feet). The hard winds kept moving snow from open pastures to our paths and drive, which made blowing and shoveling snow almost a daily task.
We took our first tour this year at the Warbird Heritage Foundation with a veteran Marine pilot. Craig, a retired corporate and former Top Gun pilot, enjoyed his tour and meeting with the chief pilot from the foundation. Listening to these two gentlemen exchange stories about flying was, to say the least, very interesting. Craig was all smiles at the condition of these classic aircraft, especially the T-2B Buckeye. He told stories about his time flying this aircraft in the Marines and how much he enjoyed it. When asked what he missed most about flying he stated without hesitation, “Flying combat jets!”.
This is another ongoing program we have on the farm, so if you have a group who would be interested in seeing this fine collection of aircraft give us a call and we’ll set up a tour. (view aircraft @ WarbirdHeritageFoundation.org)
All indications of a cold spring are on the horizon, which means planting will be late, but the good thing is there will be no shortage of moisture in the soil. Getting the garden in will depend on how much drying we get after the snow is gone, but don’t hold your breath it might be a while.
It looks to be a busy season this year, so stop by for a visit, have a cup of coffee, and see what’s going on.