Meet Garrett - Peer Recovery, Veteran, & Veteran Advocate
This is my husband Garrett, the founder & CEO of SafeHaven Freedom Ministries, Inc. He’s the brains, wit, and more of a behind the scenes type. However, his passion and entrepreneurial spirit is the catalyst for others to be encouraged to bring out the good in themselves when led by him. I could write all day and night about this man. “Where there is struggle comes freedom,” is a quote that comes to mind when I think of Garrett, and as much as I would love to share more about Garrett I also feel I am more biased and that may seem a bit unfair to the reader! So, I will only share a little bit.
Let me reiterate on
that quote... Garrett has an amazing testimony. A full life of struggle that starts back all the way into childhood. Abuse abandonment and trauma, then skipping forward, he served in the Army and is a combat veteran, adding more layers of trauma. He received a traumatic brain injury and many other physical injuries that have turned into disabilities, all while picking up PTSD during his time
at war. However, he took all circumstances and situations and TURNED them around. Fueling himself to move forward even though the path seemed it was made to make him stumble. He took his past abuse and delivered it. He no longer allowed a word curse or others’ beliefs and opinions of who he would turn out to be since he was abused as a child...
beliefs like, “once they are abused, they turn into an abuser” or “an abuser is abused”... That’s not truth, he taught me that, because he conquered that lie. He’s chosen to model what it looks like to heal from past traumas. He wanted to be more than the word curses. He started to choose to believe in his worth, more than the word curses. You see, through the work he was able to receive the truths of who is in Christ. I saw him change and start to walk in that. He is leading well for his family and others.
War, PTSD and a TBI changed him and his brain chemistry so while learning how to be a man and be able to rise up all over again, he had to chose his healing and recovery first to be able to go on. He’s put in years of counseling whether that be support groups, personal counseling and/or mens bible study groups to surround himself in a healing environment with others seeking recovery even when he didn’t feel like it. He’s studied in college to prepare him for where he is today and has gone above and beyond by pursuing education, certifications and trainings to allow him to go on a deeper level with those seeking recovery. Since then, he has continued to put one foot in front of the other and continues to put the work in.
From lived experiences, he’s now placed in a position, a calling to give back and teach others how to keep going in their recovery. It’s often I see someone who he’s helped in the past stop him and ask if he remembers them. They stop him to let him know how thankful they are that he entered in their lives during a dark period and how they recognize how God used him to bring them out
of that darkness. He has inspired so many others along the way.
Right now Garrett is leading a Veteran ministry called IDF. IDF’s name comes from the military acronym for ‘Indirect Fire.’ It is a ministry to help vets find freedom from PTSD, and facilitate peace in the hearts and minds of vets through interconnectedness with those in the vet’s life and other vets, developing purpose, healing relationships, and dealing with the ‘indirect fire’ that seems to always be overhead. IDF uses eco therapy as a means to help facilitate veterans reaching their greatest potential for success. We believe God has given us everything we need to heal our minds, body and souls through what he created, and we give Him the glory for our continued growth towards reaching our full potential of the life He meant for us.
We alternate hiking events between 2-3 day backpacking trips, and weekend trips with a base camp at the state park campground with full amenities and light hikes so that hikers of all skill levels and ability are able to join us. We also do a week 4-5 day hike and a veterans family retreat annually. Meals are provided by donations and volunteers! We are in the funding stages right now and are in need of a few items to get us started for hikes planned
(For health reasons we generally only take new items. A lot of our veterans do not have the supplies necessary to join us, so meeting physical needs is a big help to make this possible for our vets. Most gear needs to be lightweight, compact, and geared towards backpacking.)
Compression sleeping bags
First aid equipment/supplies
Cabin tents (for the annual family camp out)
15 passenger van/small bus for farther away destinations
Another area he is able to lead in is helping youth through their recovery. Garrett believes we are all recovering from something, it doesn’t have to be a substance. I have watched God use Garrett as a mentor and fill the gap as a father figure to young men who may be without that influence in their lives. I was able to ask some youth who knows Garrett personally, what is the first thing they
thought of when they heard Garrett’s name? One of the youth answered with, “I look up to him for how much he cares about me.” I think this is a great example of who Garrett is. He may come across “scary, tough or rigid to some ( I’m not quit sure what he thinks of my nickname “GearBear” that I so lovingly but jokingly gave him) but he is most defiantly one of the most caring people you’ll come across. That makes a difference in others lives and I’ve watched others, including our boys come around seeking for that Godly advice despite what they may be going through and internalizing. What Garrett has attracts them and I’ve seen miracles, lives saved and restored when God is using Garrett for His Kingdom.
The website build for IDF will start soon and we are more than excited to share that right away when it comes out! There are so many opportunities and resources we aspire to share as well and the website will allow even more information than what is here. In the mean time while you’re waiting with us... we will share some products
inspired by Veterans for Veterans on our online store, coming soon! We look forward to adding some IDF t-shirts and have I mentioned, Garrett is the lead designer for our Grim Mercantile Ministry. GM makes and sells clothing, accessories, and gear with the military and fringe Christian lifestyle theme. GM believes in getting back to nature as a
place to connect with God, and expressing how God
created you to be, without judgement. All proceeds support veteran’s ministry. So look for more from GM on the online store!
It’s always great to reflect on the positive side of things when we may be in a rut or feel like we are struggling and at times this seems so impossible. If there is one thing you can do today, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing... keep moving, just keep moving. Left foot, right foot, one foot in front of the other...even if you stumble, at least you’re still moving. Let God take the big stuff! Let’s build a stronger self and heal together, what do you say!?