It’s no secret that the transition from active military life can be extremely difficult for many of our combat veterans. The mental and physically-disabling conditions they suffer from are overwhelming, and the yearning to recapture the unique brotherhood and sense of community they once had seems like it is lost forever in civilian life.
P.J. Kratohvil and Robbie Horne have lived in that world, and now they’re stepping up in a big way to help their brothers.
Kratohvil, a Marine Corp veteran who served two deployments in Iraq and now owns Complete Exterior Solutions in Flower Mound, has joined with Horne, who served in the same unit, to create Therapeutic Recreation Group. The nonprofit brings veterans and first responders from their community together and gets them back to living active lifestyles. They do that by hosting hunting trips and other activities that not only promote health and wellness but help restore that lost brotherhood and reduce or eliminate the life limitations many of these heroes are facing.
It’s all about bringing back the power of hope to help build a community of veterans, first responders, and their families.
“Our vision is to get these guys together, let them know we are here to support them, and let them experience things,” Kratohvil said. “We are looking right here in Flower Mound, Highland Village, and surrounding areas to build a community that supports our veterans, active-duty guys, reservists, and police and fire. We want to help bring guys who are doing great together and point them in the direction of guys who aren’t doing
Kratohvil pointed to several studies that prove that when you can introduce like-minded people who share similar life experiences into an outdoor environment, it allows that individual to decompress and help them open up and begin the healing process. Remember, these are service members who were wounded or traumatized during times of war. By pairing them with Veterans and Active Duty service members who have faced similar situations, they can learn coping techniques to fit back into society and re-engage with their families.
Outdoor events are great first steps for this. They introduce something new and allow them to re-live activities they once enjoyed. TRG goes a step further with a follow-up program to keep everyone in touch, help veterans track progress if they wish, and continue to surround them with the support they need to achieve that functioning independence.
TRG also provides education to the community by giving free lectures and slideshows at corporate offices and other public venues. They utilize social media channels and the organization’s website to provide facts, statistics, and other related data on causes, current efforts, and solutions geared to help these patriots.
“We are incredibly excited to get this kicked off. There are a lot of nonprofits out there that serve and do great things. The ones I’ve worked with fly guys in from all over the country, but beyond the event, there’s no sense of community. We want to establish that,” Kratohvil said. “We want to pull from our community and create that for these people.”
Kratohvil said the idea for Therapeutic Recreation Group started a few years ago when he and Horne went on a similar hunting trip. As they were traveling back, they couldn’t stop raving about the experience and how amazing it would be to do something in their communities. With P.J. living in Flower Mound and Horne residing in Austin, they saw an opportunity to create local chapters that served veterans and first responders in a way that truly makes a difference.
Their first official trip will be a duck hunt in Arkansas on December 12-13. Kratohvil said they are also planning a steer and hog hunt in January and a few more activities later in 2021.
“Who knows where this can go and who it can affect in a positive way,” Kratohvil said.
photos courtesy of PJ Kratohvil