Veterans now have a place to call home

Posted at 6:00 PM, May 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-07 20:16:12-04

Treasure Valley veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder now have a place to call home.

The Idaho Veterans Garden is not only a place for military men and women to bury the past but an opportunity for families of the fallen to plant new life.

Since its humble beginnings with nine raised garden beds to what is here today, the Idaho Veterans Garden has grown to include 33 raised beds, not including the community garden.

Dan Pugmire has overseen the project since day one and says he couldn't have done it without ongoing support from countless individuals and businesses across the entire Treasure Valley.

Located in Caldwell, the garden is open to the public each day practically from sunrise to sunset.

"It's blessed veterans lives, and it's saved lives. It saved mine," Pugmire said. "To me, that's what this is about... is to honor the fallen soldiers that we left behind because a lot of us are dealing with emotional stuff."

Veterans from all over the valley now have a place to go where they know they'll meet others who can relate.

But, that doesn't mean they dig up the past.

"It's a good relief. You come out here, talk to people," explained Dave Garbani, a Vietnam War Veteran. "Nobody gives too much detail on what they went through, which is good because that's a tough road to hoe."

Garbani planted his produce in memory of all prisoners of war and missing in action. He wanted to make sure they were not forgotten.

The man who enlisted in the Navy years ago chose peppermint, chilies and onions to plant in his garden bed this year. He made adjustments based on past yields.

"Last year, I got overwhelmed with tomatoes, this year... one plant," Garbani chuckled.

The Idaho Veterans Garden nonprofit is currently raising funds to build a bathroom.

Plus, they're still selling engraved bricks that will one day be cemented into the ground as part of a walkway through the garden.

The spring fling barbecue Saturday kicked off the growing season.

Last year, a little over 1,300 pounds of produce was donated to area food banks. Approximately 2,000 pounds was distributed to people stopping by.

The community garden will be planted on Sunday, May 15. Anyone can show up, dig in and get their hands dirty.

For more information on how to make a donation or to buy a brick, dial (208) 713-3167.