Parish News

Veterans' garden, trail opens in Athens


 Veterans looking for piece and quiet and the solitude of a garden setting now have a place to go, and it’s tucked away in a small town among the rolling hills and green pastures of La. Hwy. 9 in Claiborne Parish, about half way between Homer and Arcadia.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted Wednesday by the Village of Athens to officially open the Athens Veterans’ Therapy Health Garden and Trail. Therapy gardens are designed to help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, depression and other health issues.

Working in therapy gardens help veterans learn new skills or regain those that have been lost. Therapy gardens can also help improve memory, coordination, balance and physical health.

Design and construction of the garden and trail, located behind Athens Town Hall on La. Hwy. 9, was  through the partnership efforts of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Trailblazer RC&D, the Claiborne Parish Police Jury and the Village of Athens.

“The people in our community, as well as our partners at NRCS and Trailblazer, have come together to make something beautiful happen for our veterans,” said Mayor Ann Brown.  “These men and women gave everything in service to our country, it is our honor to provide a place for them to heal.”

Dr. Ronald Key, director of Woody’s Home for Vets, said each roughly 107,000 veterans in the U.S. are homeless. That number, he said, is a sad reminder of what happens to far too many soldiers, sailors and marines after they return from combat zones.

“These men and women have given their all for the love of their country and families,” Key said. “We owe them so much. The people of Athens and Claiborne Parish should be proud that they’ve taken steps to show appreciation to our veterans for the sacrifices they have made for our country.”


An American flag and spray sit among other flags lining the walkway.


Flags line the walkway at the Athens Veterans' garden.


Athens Mayor Ann Brown welcomes guests to ceremony.

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