BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Our military veterans carry some of the heaviest burdens fighting for freedom. So much so, that they often neglect their own self-care.
But a local veteran has designated land and resources to make sure they heal and thrive.
Five acres of land tucked away on Parker Lane is a place called Warrior Yoga.
"It's a veteran-specific, but community accessible sanctuary," John Szczepanowski, Warrior Yoga owner.
Szczepanowski uses activities like beekeeping to expand veterans' resources and self-sustainability.
"We say that there is no limit to what you can do with your mind, so we challenge them. Here are the tools, here are the resources go for it," Szczepanowski said.
Using yoga as the key restorative tool, Warrior Yoga offers donation-based yoga classes and scholarships to help train veterans to be certified yoga instructors.
Efforts like this have helped Veterans like Joe Gonzalez diversify their own businesses and also focus on recovery.
Gonzalez was injured when he served in 2005, but now he operates a fitness facility in Southern Texas.
"It doesn't end once you leave the hospital. It continues and it goes on for a long, long time, so I am still finding a way to adapt," Gonzalez said.
"We're now acting on a proactive level and trying to minimize those veteran suicides. Minimize opioid addictions. Minimize the lack of care and compassion that veterans ultimately face," Szczepanowski said.
As a Marine Corps. Veteran, Szczepanowski knows the struggles fellow vets face. During his service, he saw the worst of the war. He was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, where casualties were sent.
"When you see life, and death, you learn to be grateful. The rest of my career, I spent, saying 'I will always, if I have it in me, I will always make sure that someone else is better off than me," Szczepanowski said.
On Nov 13. Warrior Yoga will be holding an all-day Yoga event to bring veterans, their families, and the community together.
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