Chamber Celebrates New Retreat Facility For Area Veterans

(Retreat for Vets with Post Traumatic Stress)

[GREENCASTLE, MO, May 20,2024]  The Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting for Guardian Hills Veteran Healing Center,  Friday, May 17 at their campus in Greencastle, MO. The event included tours of the campus along with refreshments. 

     In response to the growing incidence of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) in veterans, Guardian Hills Veteran Healing Center offers free of charge one-week residential retreat programs for veterans in a 28-acre rural campus setting. The facility, located near Kirksville, Missouri, includes three residential cabins, a 12,000 square foot multipurpose arena, an art/yoga building and a renovated historic barn which serves as the dining and social center. Multiple natural features are integrated into the curriculum. “This is a beautiful setting for a retreat”, says Marie Murphree, Executive Director of the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce. Retreat programs utilize immersive educational and therapeutic experiences which include the use of horses, archery, art, yoga, kayaking, a labyrinth and other-directed activities. 

     The overall goal is to provide the greatest benefit in the shortest period by aiding in the formation of coping skills and recovery activities that are then utilized by the veterans themselves, as well as by their local support and treatment resources to help veterans thrive. Follow-up support and assistance is provided by regularly scheduled contacts and identifying the appropriate level of ongoing intervention as determined at the retreat’s conclusion.

      Retreat based programs have been proven to be an effective modality for veteran PTS in numerous studies, however few are in the Midwest. Numerous national and regional experts in the field of veteran PTS have contributed to our curriculum planning, development and implementation.  Murphree said, “The services offered by Guardian Hills are so important in helping our veterans through the process of dealing with PTS. Northeast Missouri is fortunate to have such a well-researched and staffed facility. “ 

     Expansion of programs to include couples, families, military sexual trauma and first responders is planned. Administrative headquarters are in Columbia, Missouri.