ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Alan Yeck found his calling when visiting a farm dedicated to helping veterans heal.

“I came out one day for a visit, and I just fell in love with it. I’ve never stopped coming back,” Yeck said. 

What You Need To Know

  • An organization known for helping veterans in western North Carolina is looking for a new location

  • The Veterans Healing Farm must relocate this August after nine years in Henderson County because its lease is coming to an end

  • The Veterans Healing Farm said it needs to raise $5 million, as $2 million will go toward the move and $3 million toward an endowment for the farm

Three years later, Yeck is now the executive director at the Veterans Healing Farm. It offers several therapies to help veterans.   

“We recognize that the trauma that these veterans went through, whether it’s PTSD, traumatic brain injury, moral injury, whatever it may be, reacted with them on an individual basis, and their healing is going to be individual,” Yeck said.

The programs include farming, canine therapy, art therapy, music therapy and more. Yeck said these activities provide healing.

“Farming together, growing these things together, hands in the soil, outside, that’s the healing power,” Yeck said. 

After 11 years in Hendersonville, Yeck is looking for a new location because the farm's lease ends in August. The farm's staff is trying to raise $5 million to help keep its services going.   

“It’s about focusing on the future and getting there and what do we have to do to get there. It is an opportunity for growth and opportunity to have things we don’t currently have,” Yeck said.  

Yeck served in the Marine Corps and the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. He said the shared culture with the other veterans is what makes this place special.  

“When you transition out of the military, it’s better today, but it’s still often, ‘well thanks for your service, good luck,’ and then you’re out there on your own,” Yeck said. “It’s a very different life. So, to have people that understand that, to have people that have gone through that transition before and to have supporters.”   

Michael Lents is another veteran who started volunteering at the farm after attending a few sessions. He served in the U.S. Navy. 

“I miss being in the military and the camaraderie of working together with other military members, and here at the veteran’s farm, we have all of that,” Lents said. 

He says volunteering and giving back to other veterans has given back to him.

“You get a chance to impact people’s lives and touch them on a personal level and really make them feel like they’re being loved by people here at the Veterans Healing Farm,” Lents said.  

Yeck shares that same love for this farm and community, like Lents. Yeck said there’s no greater calling than to be able to help people.  

“For all my life, everything that I've done in my life, this has been the most rewarding and most humbling. To be given this honor and tremendous responsibility, I love my job at the Veterans Healing Farm,” Yeck said.