Madeleine Hagen reports.

BENTON CITY, Wash. — Near Rattlesnake Mountain, 20 minutes north of Benton City, is a project in the works to help veterans and their families.

“I retired about 20 years ago from the US army and in 2016 we decided to actually start a nonprofit and that’s where Friends of Disabled Veterans was started,” Founder and CEO Brian Moore said.

Moore said it all started when he and a group of friends would take disabled veterans to go hunting. That’s since expanded to helping disabled vets in any way possible, whether it’s finding them a car, taking them to an appointment or a house repair.

“And now what we’re doing is, were in the middle of opening a 140-acre veterans ranch so veterans have a place to go out from the normal stuff in town and just get away from everything, as you can see, we’re in the middle of nowhere,” the land is located near farmland at the base of Rattlesnake Mountain.

“We’re going to turn as much of this into a therapy ranch as we can. A 15-station archery range where veterans can come out with their families and learn how to shoot, or they can teach their kids or grandkids. Along with that we border 2500 acres of state ground and that’s where we’re going to do our equine therapy with our horses, we’ll eventually have a wood shop, a metal shop. We’re going to teach folks how to pan for gold, teach them how to grow crops, and whatever else people come up with, they say well what else you going to have? And I’m like, what do you have for an idea, let’s make it happen,” Moore described the activities that will be available at the ranch.

Recently, the organization had infrastructure, like bathroom plumbing, water and electricity laid out for the ranch. But they still need the community’s help to complete this project.

“It’s slow going because of lack of donations, and money is a real problem, we have some good sponsors the Dress family, and Bill Lampson has helped us out a lot and the railroad,” Jim Aust, the organizations Executive Director listed some of their sponsors.

Recently, they received a huge grant from GESA Credit Union to finish their accessible archery range.

“We’re trying to make this a family-oriented event, because the family is a part of the veteran and so the whole thing’s going to be built around ADA and around the family. Funding is obviously one of our important areas but the other part is letting the veterans know that we have a place for them and their families so they know they have a place they can go,” Moore said.

If you’d like to get involved, visit their website.

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