In our Serving Those Who Serve report, once out of the military, veterans sometimes struggle to find the brother or sisterhood like they had overseas. Others may be left with idle hands.
Their time serving our country has come to an end, but you wouldn’t be able to tell.
Veterans Xtreme Adventures, or VXA’s, mission is to help post 9/11 combat veterans rediscover their purpose.
“Through adventure and comradery we eventually seek therapy,” said Matthew Yates, Vice President Board of Directors.
VXA founders say they formed the group based on what veterans want.
“Well they generally don’t want red carpets, and they don’t like spotlights, and they don’t want interviews. You’re not going to get a grown man to sit around the table and talk about their feelings, no matter who they are and especially not veterans,” said co-founder Matthew Klentzman.
Many veterans say re-adjusting to civilian life is harder than it seems.
“When you go into combat, you jump right into mission tempo. You’re elevated and you’re constantly moving and constantly going and something is expected of you every day. Then you come home and all of a sudden you have idle hands. They say idle hands do the devil’s work,” said Yates.
Now these veterans are ready to aim their life in a new direction.
“It’s just a break, a deep breath, for a lot of guys,” said Yates.
Veterans Xtreme Adventures aren’t all that extreme. Some trips include hunting hogs on someone’s land or a simple fishing trip.
“When VXA goes out and we take a veteran hunting, it’s to release some stress that they might encounter after doing their duty. It really seems to help them out and that’s what VXA has done for me,” said Clayton Caley, board member.
“We have guys that never met before, went on a hunt with us and are now friends 5-6 years later and go on hunts without us. We don’t even have anything to do with them anymore,” said Klentzman.
One property owner says they do just as well as a professional trapper, which could cost several thousand dollars.
“Every time they come out they are able to kill hogs. If the hogs are slow, they will pull out a predator call and the last time they were out they shot two bobcats so that’s something that helps our herd as well,” said Jason Land, property owner.
Now a successful support group for former service members, that wasn’t the original plan. The founders wanted to make hunting safer for disabled veterans.
“We found the opposite of what we expected. We thought we were going to make it cool and high tech and what we found is they don’t want any of that. They want as little help as possible. We’ve got guys with no legs who say hey just throw me on your back for a few minutes we can get there,” said Klentzman.
After these men and women fought for our freedom, they’re finally finding ways to enjoy their new-found freedom.
“We’re learning how to cope with everyday life after your service to the country,” said Caley.
While VXA is based out of the DFW area, they are open to any veteran interested, including East Texans.
if you would like to join or are interested in volunteering your land for the vets to come hunt or fish on, you can reach out to them on their website: vetsxtreme.com