The Gallops Senior Center closed its pool two years ago. Joe Kuppe, a local Vietnam veteran who visits the center often, says when he saw the empty space he knew it would be the perfect space for a garden.
“I kept walking across this field all the time and I noticed that it was not being used so I approached the director here at the Gallop Center,” Kuppe said.
Parks and Recreation agreed to partner with Kuppe on this idea. Browder says she sees this as being a therapeutic outlet for not only seniors that attend the center but the entire community.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity that it presents for our veterans, being so close to Fort Benning and knowing that we do have those that retire here or that are military in their background. It’s a great chance for us to be a part of that,” Browder said.
Kuppe says he is not a gardener but knew the perfect person that could help. Kuppe called another local veteran Willie Jones and they both spirit headed a garden last year. Jones says it’s important to bring it back to harvest another year to continue healing veterans in their community.
“By going off to war and having some great traumatic experience and they go back into their succumb. So in order just to get out and walk around and exercise and be a part of something that’s healthy and wholesome that’s a therapeutic intervention,” Jones said.
For this upcoming harvest, Kuppe plans to expand his garden with better security and more supplies.
All supplies, for the garden, have been donated from organizations in the community. Kuppe says he plans to have a fence installed in the next few weeks. After that, he plans to start planting.
Kuppe says he plans to give the vegetables to a couple of churches, people in the community and to the soldiers involved.