RIDGELAND, SC . (WTOC) - Although many of us look forward to the holidays, it can be hard on military members.
To help his fellow combat veterans, one Lowcountry marine created a nonprofit to be a resource for his fellow veterans. Not just during the holidays, but all year long.
“This is a place to come, this is a place to heal. This is a place that is going to save lives out here, said Dr. John Kelm, Vietnam Veteran
Roy Brown Jr hopes to accomplish just that with his non-profit, Operation Patriots FOB.
JR spent 3 years in Iraq, first deployed with 1st Battalion 2nd Marines in 2004 as a bomb dog handler and 2 additional years with Blackwater in support of the Department of State.
Through his time overseas and now back in the states, JR has experienced the importance of having adequate available resources for our veterans once they return home.
“The holidays are not easy on the veteran community. Unfortunately, just a few weeks ago, we lost another brother to suicide and we just want guys to know that there are people out here, people that care, people that love them.” The goal is just to have this as a FOB, our forward operating base. So from here, we will be able to branch out and do a lot of other different things,” said Roy Brown Jr. CEO/Founder Operation Patriots FOB.
Here in Ridgeland, veterans can relax on over 250 acres of land where they can hunt, fish, ride side-by-sides or just escape in the wilderness.
In just a few months, Operation Patriots FOB has been able to host over 50 veterans. One of which being combat veteran Sean Casper.
“Having the nature around, not having any worries, it is a judgement free zone and just being able to have casual conversation. More important, the therapy that comes along with it, the therapy that’s provided here is better than any kind of medication a doctor can prescribe you,” said Combat Veteran, Sean Casper.
“This is for all branches of the service. We have a great resource of active duty and retired marines and army in the area, so it is open for everybody,: Roy Brown Jr.
" For my generation, Vietnam, I had 25 years on active duty and three tours in Vietnam. We were kind of the forgotten group for a while. Thanks to the OPFOB, and our relationship with other veterans’ groups, we are doing a great thing,” said Dr. John Kelm, Vietnam Veteran.
Most importantly, JR wants veterans to know they aren’t alone, and that help is only a phone call away.
“You don’t have to be broken to come out here. There are people out there that can help, and we care about them,” said Roy Brown Jr.
If you or a veteran you know is in distress, they can receive confidential help by calling 1-800-273-8255, by texting 838255 or starting an online chat by clicking here.
Additional resources are available by clicking here.