Valuing our veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, 3 Generations presents the latest installment in our Valuing Our Veterans campaign.  Click here to watch the new short film ‘A Different Kind of War’.

John Nash with his herd of therapy horses.

The consummate cowboy, John Nash found himself up against the demons of his past, and about to drink himself to death. 40 years after the Vietnam War, the trauma he suffered had him on a path to self-destruction. This summer, he shared his story of how his interactions with his wife’s horse, Rain, saved his life, and how he and his herd of therapy horses are bringing healing to other veterans through the power of the human-animal bond.

3 Generations’ short documentary about John and his organization, Combat Veterans Cowboy Up, tells the stories of what happens when veterans return from the battlefield. Emotional interviews with four veterans chronicle the destructive course of post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychological battle that can lead to arrests and homelessness and can end careers, marriages, and lives. The interviewees are at different stages of healing, but each of them credits John Nash and his unique brand of therapy with saving their lives.

PTSD affects nearly 30% of all US military veterans.  John Nash views it as the biggest threat to national security.  Less and less parents are willing to allow their child to risk their mental health for a country that often fails to provide them with medical treatment once they return home.  The figures are indeed staggering: 2012 set a record for military suicides, and the average wait-time for medical benefits is nearly a year.  John Nash, his team of therapists, and a herd of specially trained therapy horses, provide something to sufferers of PTSD they have found nowhere else: relief.  Nash guides veterans through exercises with the horses that serve as a metaphor for functioning in daily life.  The horses won’t respond to a patient who is stressed or anxious, helping the veteran relearn how to communicate with others and successfully operate outside of the combat zone.

3 Generations strives to support the efforts of Combat Veterans Cowboy Up and other organizations that are helping veterans.

3 Generations Valuing Our Veterans campaign began as part of the Clinton Global Initiative Veteran’s Working Group, founded at CGI America in 2010. The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of the employment challenges that post 9/11 veterans face and to record the stories of veterans and interview employers who sought to hire veterans.

Today we have expanded our brief to include collecting the stories of veterans suffering from PTSD and homelessness – two other major challenges all veterans face.  Learn more about the issue and what you can do here: