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This Veteran-Owned Winery Serves Community Through Viticulture
Oregon’s Dauntless Wine Company offers a path for veterans to step off the battlefield and onto the vineyard
by L.M. Archer
Ancient Rome routinely awarded retiring soldiers land grants in conquered territories. Many planted vineyards. It turns out, tilling fields is good for the soul.
“Getting out there in the soil and working it has many therapeutic benefits to it that are beginning to emerge,” says former active duty Marine Ben Martin, co-founder of Dauntless Wine Cø. and Dauntless Veteran Foundation in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, adding he believes a lot of veterans, particularly combat veterans, are programmed to have a “very destructive mindset, to destroy with impunity, and they’re not really deprogrammed out of that when they get out.”
Martin’s team at the veteran-owned winery and foundation offers returning soldiers an opportunity to reset that battlefield mindset through agriculture.
Proof of concept
A chance encounter sparked Martin’s idea to create the veteran-owned winery. After ending his 2004-2005 tours in Iraq, the Oregonian returned home, attended college in Portland, and established a successful career in brand management.
However, transition to civilian life proved challenging. While at school, Martin met other veterans also struggling to find their place in society. All shared a similar loss of connection, community, and purpose formerly enjoyed in the military.
“A lot of people getting out of the military feel like they’ve lost that purpose, and that group of friends that were there for you. And I felt that as well,” says Matt Blankenship, DVF Secretary, who met Martin in 2006. “Until I met Ben, and some of these other folks, I didn’t feel like I had a place, or a home,” or a group of people with whom he belonged.” READ FULL ARTICLE HERE.