“I was not born a farmer. I suppose that I am someone who was once a Soldier and Paramedic who now farms. Every morning I wake up and have to face the reality following a traumatic brain and other injuries in Iraq that I am no longer a soldier. Due to my injuries, I am also no longer able to get a job as a fire fighter or a paramedic. Five years after my 2009, injuries in Iraq, I went on a quest to become something. I had a few options, I could be a coach potato, a nuisance to society, or I could get off my tail and become something, ANYTHING. It was then that farming found me. Since that day, each day…farming saves my life,” says MSG Reynolds of his new mission.
Work Vessels for Vets, a nonprofit with the mission to equip injured veteran-entrepreneurs, partnered with the Semper Fi Fund to purchase a $27,000 hay baler for an injured Army veteran in Calhoun, GA. Master Sergeant Mike Reynolds joined the Army and spent 18 years protecting and defending the USA. During his service in Iraq his ambulance was involved in an attack, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury that ultimately ended his military and emergency services careers. Every soldier needs a mission, and Mike searched until he found a new one. Now he, his wife Kim, and their two children own and operate, Hero Cuts@Reynolds Farm. Mike is building his herd of beef cattle and other livestock and hopes to soon be able to give other disabled veterans opportunities to find new purpose after their military service has ended--through on-farm training.
“While in Iraq,” said Reynolds, who entered the military as a trained paramedic, “I saved lives and had the chance to show compassion to so many families of a war ravaged nation. I worked tirelessly to save our own service members who were sick and injured. Then, I got hurt. Who does the medic in charge ofthe medics call when he is hurt? On that morning in 2009, I would become the patient. The thing that I had not really feared for 18 years of military service stopped me in my tracks. Three and a half years of doctors appointments and hospitalizations would follow…and coming home would create the greatest struggle I had ever faced. With the need for a new mission, I found farming. At one point my goal was to simply make it to tomorrow, sober, not in a prescription drug fog and alive.”
MSGT Reynolds recalled his long road to a new mission, “I remember not being able to see past tomorrow. Now, when asked about long-range plans, I have some! Looking forward to the success of a 3 to 5 year plan is a reasonable goal. I have met my new challenges and limitations and turned them from mountains into speed bumps. No longer am I hindered by my own disabilities. Now, I have a 20 year plan!”