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Couple Converts Their Farm Into A Safe Haven For PTSD Sufferers

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Chances are, you probably know someone who’s affected by it. And now, Rick and Donna Wanless, who are in their 70s, have opened up their farm to veterans and first responders who suffer from the disorder.

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The couple has lived on their 25-acre farm alone for the past 43 years—which is on the edge of the Thompson River in British Columbia—but soon, it’ll transform into Honour Ranch to help those suffering from PTSD.

And our hearts just cheered.

“[Those with PTSD] expose themselves to so many somewhat toxic conditions and then they have to come back smiling,” Rick said to CFJC Today. “It’s not always easy to bounce back.”

So what inspired the couple? An injury four years ago, when Rick broke his pelvis. He was impressed with the paramedics who helped him and still remembers them today.

“And, we thought, it’s time we considered doing something, giving back something in return for the good life that we’ve had,” he told CBC News.

Another PTSD-focused housing project, Honour House in New Westminster, Canada, “a home away from home and a place of recovery for our Canadian Forces, Emergency Services Personnel, Veterans and their families,” will help Honour Ranch with their mission.

The Wanlesses plan to build tiny houses and rooms for out-of-town visitors, and the New Westminster Fire Department is helping, too, by building a prototype of a 300-square-foot cottage that will house visitors. They say “it takes a village,” right? And this story is proof.

While the guest lodging is being built, the gazebo, existing guesthouse and stable will be used for therapy programs and treatment.

Even better? The services will be free. Yep, f-r-e-e.

Where will Rick and Donna Wanless go? Nowhere. They’ll stay on their property and live in the main house.

“We’re hoping it will provide a bit of an escape from the rigours of everyday life, where people could come and camp and fish and do some boating,” Rick told CBC News. “At some point in the future, [the main house] may well become gifted to the first responders and to Honour House, but at the present time we’re just sharing what we’ve got with them.”

And that’s what life is all about, right? Sharing what we have with others.

Watch an interview with this generous couple on CFJC Today.