Injured Iraq veteran finding recovery through farming.
A very active member of our Corvallis peace community and stalwart organizer with Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), Adele Kubein, agreed to share this story of her daughter’s immense challenges she has faced since returning gravely injured from Iraq.
We found it very inspiring and believe you will too. Make sure you click on the link to her daughter Mickey Clayton’s letter to find ways to help her continue her journey to healing.
It has been many years since I have communicated with many of you. You all are receiving this note because, in the past you have been interested or involved in my daughter’s re-integration into American society after her year in Iraq as a National Guard soldier. You folks are the ones who came through and helped her when she really needed it.
I would like to fill you in on her progress and to pass on a letter
from her. Mickey Clayton, my daughter, was permanently crippled by her injuries. It took many years for the VA to finally care for her and for her disability payments to come in. She is still in daily pain and with limited movement. My grandson is now almost ten years old. He is profoundly autistic, perhaps due to chemical exposures in Iraq. He is now beginning to speak, write, and read. He is beautiful, as you can see if you follow any of the links in my daughter’s letter. My daughter is the best parent I have ever met. My grandson is loving, kind, and good with animals. We have no expectations but also no barriers to whatever he will become in life.
So that is the hard part of the story, but many things have happened since you all helped her long ago. She used the money I saved up for her, combined with her disability, and she bought a 40 acre ranch here in Oregon. She is part of the Slow Food Movement now, and she raises heritage breeds of sheep, chickens, and ducks. She is active with the Navajo Nation, contributing sheep, lambs, wool and hides to the Nation. She is working with Navajo elders to produce a book on the Navajo Churro sheep, which she is working to save for the Nation and for herself. She has been the keynote speaker at banquets, and is now been chosen as one of the U.S. delegates to the Slow Food conference in Turino, Italy, in the coming October.
Most importantly, she said that the work with the land and the animals is healing her, it is helping her to think straight, and giving her life as she contributes to our communities. She has gathered other female veterans and they are going to Italy to show the food world how warriors can re-integrate in society through the gift of agriculture, given to their communities. This is a splendid end (or middle) to just one of the many horrific war stories we have heard.
Yes, there is a request in the attached letter from Mickey. But I also am so proud of her progress and direction, that I am happy to send along this update. Please ignore, or pass along to anyone you think of that can help or publicize. My daughter is a success story. I never thought I could think if it that way, crippled, in pain, with a special needs son, limited income and all. Yet my girl is doing her best to change the world for the better. Thank you all for being the shining souls that helped to show her that people are good.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and her links are in the attached letter.
Department of Anthropology
Oregon State University