CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An Iraq War veteran from West Michigan is using farming to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Justin Bajema, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, started Rebel Pastures near Rockford with his wife at the beginning of the pandemic. The farm sells pasture-raised chickens and eggs through online sellers like Market Wagon. This year, the Bajemas raised 3,600 chickens using sustainable practices.
“I remember my dad telling me that the military needs good men and good women and it’s about service and that’s something that’s really stuck with me and we really see farming as it’s about service,” Bajema said.
The Marine began his military career shortly before the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I joined the Marine Corps May 20 of 2001. After I graduated boot camp, went back for infantry training; my first day it was Sept. 11, 2001,” Bajema said.
He was injured twice while serving in Iraq and awarded a Purple Heart.
“Nov. 29 of 2004, we were on nighttime patrol and ended up getting ambushed by an (improvised explosive device) going about 5 mph,” Bajema recalled. “I was the first vehicle and I heard over the radio, ‘I think I see someone.’ Before he got done, bomb detonated.”
Miraculously, everyone he was with survived. Bajema himself was wounded and ultimately brought back to U.S. for treatment.
“I went from Baghdad to Germany, then back to Bethesda and D.C., where I had eight surgeries was in the hospital for several weeks,” he said. “I felt like I abandoned my guys, that I was relatively safe back in the states in the hospital.”
He said farming and talking about what happened helps him cope with PTSD.
“PTSD is a real thing for a lot of veterans. I mean, you go downrange and people try to kill you. You don’t just forget about that,” Bajema said. “You can go one of two ways: It can be a very dark journey or you can use that to pivot and have post-traumatic growth and that’s what I really wanted to achieve was growth.”
He hopes to help other veterans who are interested in farming learn sustainable practices.
“I think farming is a cool way that we can bring together veterans and civilians to work side by side and together on something that is greater than them,” Bajema said.
Original Source: woodtv.com
New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.
Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.
Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.
“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.
He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.
“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.
The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.
Original Post: woodtv.com
Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals
HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.
The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.
The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.
“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.
The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.
“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.
Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand.
“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”
Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.
The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.
“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.
Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.
The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.
“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.
People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.
Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula
HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.
Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.
But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.
The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.
So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.
“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.
She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.
“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”
Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.
Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.
“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”
Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”
The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.
Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.
“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”
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