WHAT IS SET APART FARMS?
Set Apart Farms is a Veteran owned and operated non-profit created to heal Veterans and their families. Together they have sacrificed, and together they must heal.
Set Apart Farms is a working farm that houses Veteran families. Through the program, they will be connected to the services and therapies they are qualified for within the Veteran hospital while receiving information and personal assistance to help them navigate the, very complex, VA system. They will be connected with multiple private sector services to include EMDR therapy, family therapy, and other services not just for the Veteran, but for the family members as well.
The farm itself will provide a healing environment and temporary family housing to help support the Veteran’s family through their medical needs. Transitional services, after care, family events, and education about sustainable living will be a part of the healing process while on the farm.
There is truly nothing like this for Veteran families and we are excited to be able to bring this to the Veteran community from our suffering and obstacles.
We aim to be a light in the darkness for these families.
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
SSgt James Hollon served on active duty in the Marine Corps 2000 – 2012 as an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines and 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines conducting multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. SSgt Hollon also served as a Senior Drill Instructor with Delta Co. at MCRD San Diego from 2005 to 2008. In 2012, SSgt Hollon received an Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps and returned back to civilian life, although it would be a hard transition. SSgt Hollon had suffered multiple injuries throughout his career, some of which caused a serious amount of pain and was treated by the VA hospital with pain medication until the surgeries could be arranged. After a long wait, just one month short of five years, he finally received the call he had been waiting for.
The Marine vet was excited at the prospect of healing and returning to life as he knew it before he was injured. Instead, he woke up and discovered he couldn’t use his dominant arm or rotate his head to the left or right. SSgt Hollon immediately became a professional VA patient and the hard times that he thought were behind him, had only started.
During a course of 3 years while receiving multiple corrective surgeries and therapies, he began to notice some serious shortfalls with the Veteran services and programs that were offered. Many programs turned him away based on the fact that he did not have a drug or alcohol addiction and the few that would accept him had no place for his family. The advice given was to have the family find a homeless shelter nearby while he went through therapy, but that wasn’t an option for the Hollons. After approaching several other programs with his recommendations and ideas, he was turned away. He and his wife decided to step up and fill the gaps that others were missing. Together, they decided to create what should have been created long ago: A recovery program that incorporates the entire family as a whole in order to heal together as God intended, as one.
"BE SET APART, FOR I AM SET APART."
1 PETER 1:16
A family is a unit, just like an infantry squad is a unit. In order to function effectively, that unit must be together. In war, that squad works together to accomplish their mission. Just as in a family unit, every member is vital to that unit. Why is it that the military recognizes the importance of an infantry squad and the dynamics of that unit to function, but fails to see the importance of keeping the family unit together after service is rendered?
Upon honorably discharging from the Marine Corps, James was in need of multiple treatments both physically and mentally. Once settling into civilian life, he checked into the VA where they put him on a waiting list for surgery while regularly attending the VA for multiple and continuous therapies. During this time, their answer to his pain was medications that left him dazed, hindered his capabilities, and did not allow him to live a normal life. There were several failed attempts to get him the care he needed that dragged on for nearly 5 years before receiving the call for surgery. Once he finally went through the procedure, the surgery was botched, leaving him without the use of his dominant arm and limited head movement.
His 8-week recovery soon turned into a long drawn out process of appointments and even more medications. James went from needing limited assistance to needing a full-time caregiver. His appointments tallied anywhere from 11 to 13 a week and he was unable to get himself to and from them due to his inability to drive. The VA recommended for us to temporarily stay at the Fisher House located on the campus of the VA. The Fisher House is a good program for very short term stays for veterans and/or family members, but ours turned into 7 months. A communal living environment for a Veteran family with children is not ideal, to say the least. We documented our journey and have provided links if you’re interested in watching and hearing more.
This 7 month stay and botched surgery resulted in our family losing everything and needing a second surgery to correct the first one. During this time, we searched resources, fought broken systems, and initiated two congressional inquiries for support. They were unable to help in all areas.
While there are many Veteran programs out there, each option we found separated the family. There are factors that can cause ongoing tensions within the family unit such as separation anxiety, resentment, and an overall divide in the healing process. A family must go through the healing process together in order to truly come together as one and succeed.
The majority of available programs focused on addiction for the Veteran, which was not a factor in our story. Years of struggle ensued resulting in finical loss and debt, losing our residence, and facing homelessness while still needing adequate care for the Veteran in our family. Only God gave us the courage and strength to keep fighting these giant broken systems. We worked with literally dozens of programs, but they all fell short. We felt like we were drowning, helpless, depressed, all the while growing further and further from one another.
How could there be nothing for Veteran families to heal and recover together? How would we ever fix the file issues and secure proper medical care for the Veteran in our family? How would our family ever be the same? Where would we live, what would we do?
The Veteran in our family had given his all to this country, only to be abandoned and discarded. But we couldn’t quit, after all, our child was watching. So, we fought! We started documenting everything, contacting anyone we thought would help and spoke out where we could, we endured.