“My name is Shannon Le Brun. I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1989 to 1993. I enlisted in the Corps as an 0341 (Mortarman). After infantry school, I received orders to Marine Corps Security Force School in Virginia Beach VA. There I learned how to protect nuclear weapons on board naval vessels and at naval installations. Most of my four year enlistment was spent guarding our nation’s nuclear weapons. I have spent time at the Naval Ship Yard in Philadelphia PA, I was once stationed on the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63, and I was stationed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego CA.
Today I am classified as a disabled Veteran because of injuries I suffered while serving in the United States Marine Corps. Not all disabled vets become disabled because of physical injuries and/or combat. Some vets like myself are disabled because of mental illness incurred while serving. Most of my disability comes from the trauma I incurred while serving at Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown VA. I do not care to discuss the details of my PTSD, all I will say is that it was horrific. The trauma I experience continues to haunt me today, mostly around the areas of forming intimate relationships.
However my therapy at the Vet Center has helped me tremendously. The support I get from fellow vets and Kaleen, my therapist is helpful. Recently Kaleen found out through our therapeutic talk sessions that I have a hidden passion for growing produce, flowers and plants, so she teamed me up with an organization called Frontline Gardens. This organization donates plants and flower beds to veterans who are disabled and show an interest in farming. My experience with Stephanie Trost and her hushed Michael Trost from Frontline gardens has been amazing. They recently donated enough lumber to create garden beds in my backyard.
I can’t wait to get started on my backyard garden. I have met with Stephanie and Michael at my home twice so far. These meeting are significant because my PTSD has never allowed me to invite people into my home. Both of our meetings are supposed to be no more than 20 minutes, but both have lasted at least 90 minutes to 2 hours. I absolutely love talking with them. They inspire me to be better and our informal conversations open me up to possibilities I have kept buried deep inside of me since trauma.
One of my dreams is to acquire two or more acres of land to build my dream home and farm on. I am a Brooklyn NY native, but after joining the Corps and seeing different parts of this magnificent country I developed a yearning to live peacefully in rural America somewhere. I made my first move in 2017 away from the big city to a small town called Chattanooga, TN. Now after being here 3 years I dream to live in rural America. I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life and I believe a small farm and a nice home for my four grandchildren and two sons to visit will be the best setting to spend the rest of my life.
I got my vision during my sessions with my therapist and my vision was confirmed when I found out Stephanie and Michael own more than 50 acres of farm land and they are in the process of building their home on that land. If they can do it so can I. Until my vision is a reality, I am looking forward to working with Frontline Gardens and a host of charitable organizations that are involved in helping me recover from my PTSD through farming in my backyard here in Chattanooga, TN.
I am sure many of these personnel I meet will say to me we are grateful for your service. I want all of the organizations helping veterans like Frontline Gardens to know that I am grateful for the service they are providing to me. Thank you for your Service Frontline Gardens!”
Shannon Le Brun