BUCHANAN, Va. – A Buchanan horse farm focused on helping veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder now has a new addition.
The Steve Goodwin Veterans Center opened at New Freedom Farm Saturday morning. The center provides a place for veterans to relax indoors, as well as New Freedom Farm’s offices.
Veterans who frequent the farm say they are happy to see it expand.
“New Freedom Farm means everything to me," said Andrew Kintgen, an Army veteran who teaches at the farm. "We have a lot of alike conversation and ways to help each other out.”
“It’s a backbone," said David Work of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. "It’s a structure I know is here and I can come to when I’m in need. We might not have been in the sandbox, but we share an underlying bond.”
The community center, which was constructed within an existing farm building on the property, took more than a year to complete. It is the first indoor gathering place for the farm. Kintgen says that is crucial with the amount of elderly veterans that frequent the farm.
“There are a lot of veterans that are wheelchair bound, that can’t stand for long periods of time, that can’t be in the hot or cold for long periods of time<' Kintgen said. "Having a climate-controlled area is super beneficial to what the farm’s mission is.”
Farm director Lois Fritz said she dedicated the building to Steve Goodwin because he inspired Fritz to develop the farm. However, Goodwin died before the building’s completion.
“I wish today that he could see this with all of these people," Fritz told the crowd at the grand opening. "He had more faith in me than I did.”
New Freedom Farm has been in operation since 2016.