Protect Columbine Hondo Wilderness

Veterans Support Columbine Hondo
Albuquerque Journal North
Chuck Howe
Sunday, May 26, 2013
DAV Memorial

As the president of the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire, I commend Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich along with Congressman Ben Ray Lujan for introducing legislation to permanently protect the Columbine Hondo as a wilderness area.

I am a retired U.S. Army officer and Vietnam Veteran and I established the nonprofit foundation in 2009 to treat veteran couples with PTSD. To date we have successfully helped 175 couples with our seven-day retreats.

Nature and its inherent therapeutic benefits are integral to all of the retreats. The beauty and serenity of the wilderness provides a natural setting offering a sense of well-being and connectedness to the participants and staff. Participants are out in nature in an environment that becomes an integral part of the therapeutic recreational experience.

Ask many veterans who have returned from a military assignment and the first place they want to go is to the wilderness to relax and get away “from it all.”

Permanent protection of a large portion of the alpine tundra in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains will truly benefit all veterans in northern New Mexico, throughout the state and southwest, particularly for the number of National Guard soldiers that reside in the state and have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo multiple times.

On behalf of all veterans, the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center fully supports the permanent protection of the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Area and thanks our congressional delegation for their efforts in this important endeavor.

President, National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center
Angel Fire