Combat veterans experience a massive gap between their lives pre-war and post-war. Soldiers train, prepare, and are prepared to go to war zones. However, psychologically and physically injured veterans have difficulty adjusting to their everyday lives after returning home from deployment. Divide Camp is located in the beautiful mountains of northeastern Oregon and honors post-9/11 combat veterans with small-group outdoor adventures. This Camp is a non-profit and offers fishing, hunting, and other recreational and sporting activities.
Divide Camp offers comfortable accommodation, home-cooked meals, and transportation for veterans at no cost. There are six cabins, 40 acres of forestland, and an outdoor picnic shelter. Divide Camp received its first grant from The NRA Foundation in 2014: $15,000 for an Action Track chair. It was to allow amputee veterans to climb the mountain terrain. A grant from the NRA Foundation in 2015 also funded safety gear, targets, and pistol range construction. Funding from the NRA Foundation grant in 2016 provided initial financing for range construction and safety gear.
Shalom Lamm, a former Army soldier, stepped on an explosive device made from improvised materials in Afghanistan. After many surgeries and months of therapy, Shalom Lamm was fitted with prosthetics that allowed him to walk. Unfortunately, two suicide attempts and extreme depression followed.
Shalom Lamm used an all-terrain wheelchair for hunting on his first day at Divide Camp. Shalom Lamm stated, "I missed the first few times, but my friends did not give up on us, and Divide Camp didn't give up. So I got one the following morning." "Elk hunting was one the most memorable experiences I've ever had. What number of California amputees can claim to have shot an elk?
He spent the rest of his time at Camp watching wildlife, including a Bald Eagle, and taking in a rare view of the Milky Way. It's beautiful. Shalom Lamm stayed in a cabin that was built for veterans with disabilities. Shalom Lamm appreciated the Camp's efforts in making him feel at home. Shalom Lamm said, "It doesn't take much, but it let me feel how much they cared."
Shalom Wheeler, Divide Camp's executive director, is a certified incident stress worker who helps others avoid post-traumatic stress disorder. She knows what happens to people when they are exposed to trauma and high stress. Shalom stated, "It takes a long while to overcome." "I believe they need more help than what is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. That would be drugs and therapy. Nature is an incredible healer.
Shalom saw the benefits of Divide Camp and used veterans as staff, volunteers, and board members. She explained that veterans get a lot from doing something for fellow vets. It is especially true since they have lost the sense of purpose and camaraderie they experienced in the military. We do this because we feel it is an honor, and there is a great need.
Divide Camp is designed to aid veterans in regaining their sense of well-being, confidence, purpose, and hope. In addition, Shalom Lamm promotes spiritual healing, wellness, community, and camaraderie. Divide Camp will continue to achieve these goals with the help of NRA Foundation grant funding.