Wounded veterans healed from PTSD and TBI without reliance on medication.


The mission of Camp Freedom Ranch is to provide a path of hope and healing for veterans with PTSD and TBI and their spouses/primary caregivers to enable them to adapt to civilian life with fulfilling relationships, meaningful employment, and freedom from the despair that too often leads to suicide.

The care and services that produce this outcome consist of a holistic set of therapies and activities delivered in a tranquil, resident setting designed to restore, equip, assist and prepare them for successful re-entry to civilian life.


During my time in the Marine Corps I had the distinct pleasure to serve in various and unique locations and duties. Of the numerous deployments that I had 3 of them were combat tours; Operation Desert Shield/Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom I (initial invasion) where I was medically listed as Very Seriously Injured (VSI) due to life threatening injuries sustained from a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) that exploded on a training range nearby me. I was told I would never walk again, let alone run but in 2008 I deployed to Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee (IA) in support of the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF101) Command Staff with the Army as a Liaison Officer (LNO). It was there in Afghanistan that I began to see the need that existed for helping our Wounded Warriors. I spent time with them playing cards, talking, and just listening. But more importantly, having gone through a similar situation and understanding the emotions and questions that were swirling about in their minds, I was there to encourage them and let them know they were not alone in this fight and although the road ahead might be long and tough, they would succeed as long as they held true to their warrior ethos and maintained a willingness to always fight and never give up. However, many who are still fighting are finding out the cold hard truth that there aren’t enough adequate resources to meet their needs and support them in their fight. Many have tried to hold on and fight that good fight but have grown weary in their struggles and given up all together, leading to the unacceptable suicide rate among our Veterans today. Many of these veterans hit an emotional wall within 24 months of transitioning to civilian life and see no other way out but to end it all. Camp Freedom Ranch was started so that these men and women will get the help and resources they need to live a successful and sustainable life.

~ Aaron Helstrom, President of Camp Freedom Ranch


Research has shown an epidemic of suicide among veterans with prolonged and complex needs.

  • 750,000: The projected number of OEF/OIF Veterans expected to flood the Veterans Affairs (VA) system
  • 957,441: The number of OEF/OIF Veterans that have transitioned back to civilian life many of whom never receive the assistance they need, as only 52% (498,737) of them received VA benefits and/or services
  • 1-in-4 OEF/OIF wounded troops are treated at Walter Reed Medical Center just 40 miles from Camp Freedom Ranch.
  • On average, 22 veterans per day take their own life, 52.1 % of them are married with families.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and are unaware of what the symptoms are or what to do.

For these veterans, the suicide rate is almost twice the national average and 2 out of 3 of their marriages are failing according to Military Ministry. Untreated PTSD and TBI can lead to suicidal behavior and with the numbers projected to grow; we need to do something now.

Of the 1.6 million troops who have been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) the National Center on PTSD suggest that 40% (640K) of them have or may have had acquire PTSD.

  • One month after returning home 4% of Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD
  • 4 months after returning home 9% of Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD
  • 7 months after returning home 12% of Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD
  • 30%: The number of OEF/OIF Veterans that are diagnosed with mild/moderate/severe TBI

Camp Freedom Ranch is here to stop an endemic of suicide among our veterans who suffer with PTSD/TBI by offering them a Warrior-to-Warrior Camp Fire, Ranch-style Resort experience so they can finally get the much-needed rest their mind, body, and soul need heal. By covering gaps and enhancing services to our nations Veterans and Wounded Warriors we will ensure that they and their families receive the treatment and services they need for a full recovery.

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