Saturday, September 17th was a special day for guests and members of the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch (COVR) who attended the screening of the new documentary Cover Me, The Path to Purpose. The film is a joint production between Suzanne DeLaurentiis of DeLaurentiis Productions and Central Oregon Veterans Ranch Founder Alison Perry.
The documentary highlighted the Oregon-based non-profit’s innovative and “organic” approach to healing veterans with military trauma. The vision of Alison Perry, a military family member and former trauma therapist in the Department of Veterans Affairs, engages veterans in farming, agriculture, and peer support as a way of building community for an often marginalized and misunderstood population. Cover Me features Perry’s eloquent articulation of the methodology of healing and the differences in a holistic approach vs. the traditional medical model, as well as the stories and testimonials of veterans. “There’s a difference between curing and healing. I would call the Ranch an organic approach to healing. It’s not prescribed.” The film captures the beauty of the 19-acre working farm in Central Oregon, an essential element to the sense of sanctuary at COVR.
The documentary features the stories of 8 veteran participants, all survivors of combat and other military-related traumas. Veterans of different eras share their experience of the healing and connection that occur in this sanctuary where they grow food, care for animals, receive peer support, and most importantly build community. “There’s no judgment here,” says Vietnam Corpsman veteran Marv Kaplan, “it doesn’t matter what era you served in, we all share similar experiences.”
A small reception was held afterward in the lobby of the CineLounge where guests visited, some sharing personal stories evoked by the film. “I could feel the power of what you’re doing coming through the screen,” shared guest Barbara Morse, the daughter of a Korean war veteran, “there was nothing like that when my dad came home.”
COVR takes flight as a result of generous sponsors
Members of the Oregon aviation industry who support or are owned by veterans stepped up in a big way to support the screening. “As the daughter, granddaughter, and sister of both military and private sector pilots, it is important for me to recognize how our generous sponsors in the aviation industry support veterans,” said Perry. Owners Dale and Susie Neubauer of Bend-based HeliLadder and long-time friends of Perry attended the screening. Leading Edge Flight Academy, one of the nation’s largest flight schools with a 60% veteran student ratio, ToughGuard, a Portland-based innovator of protective coating for aircraft, and New Moon Aviation, a veteran-owned aircraft maintenance business based in Madras, Oregon, were also supporters of the screening.
Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.