Support US Veterans with PTSD Through Farm-i-tude Drones
What do we owe our Veterans as a community, as an industry, and even personally? They ran towards the fight, and they stood up to defend our freedoms. The WakWay Foundation has had the honor of serving military families with thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in the past. Now with its Farm-i-tude program, it is ready to give Vets access to all of its resources again.
According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era:
- Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
- Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.
- In 2019 about 1.66 million veterans had a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher.
So what is the Farm-i-tude plan? It has created a grass-roots program that targets PTSD and disabled Vets to give them the skills needed to obtain their 107 licenses and hands-on experience to learn how to fly drones.
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“When we started the Farm-i-tude side of the Foundation, we put a lot of thought into how this technology could really impact someone’s life,” says Don Wakamatsu, CEO of The WakWay Foundation. “Besides working with small farms and youth, we discovered that Vets and Autistic children/adults excel in this space.”
Farm-i-tude has added Dr. Edward Chavez from The Athletic Competitive Edge to the advisory board. Dr. Chavez specializes in PTSD and will be a great asset to the Vet program. “Having someone like Dr. Chavez on our advisory board is HUGE to grow this program in the right way. There are so many great programs out there, and we hope to be right at the top of the list,” says Wakamatsu.
If you are a veteran wanting more information about the Farm-i-tude Veteran Drone Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating a proper drone program takes resources to assist Vets in obtaining their 107 licenses from the FAA, creating internships and opportunities to fly the drones in relevant missions, and providing financing for a drone’s actual purchase. “When people think of drones, they think of the hobby drones that one can obtain from somewhere like Costco for $50,” says Michelle Truman, COO of the Foundation, “Not the $20,000 drones we are flying for true commercial use. Some of these industrial drones require pilots charging up to $300 per hour to fly the mission.”
The FAA is projecting at least another 100,000 pilots over the next few years to handle the number of missions that will be flown from construction, agriculture, police work, search and rescue, and yes, even Amazon delivery. So what does the Farm-i-tude program hope to accomplish? “The Babe Ruth Rule is to keep it simple,” says Wakamatsu. “We intend to be the best drone program available, so that Vets who want to be a part of this industry have that opportunity.”
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