Taking Aim with Archery to Help Veterans

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LARKSVILLE -- A Vietnam War veteran from Luzerne County has started a unique recreational therapy program. He's putting bows and arrows in the hands of other veterans.  The aim is to help them deal with life after military service.

It took the Vietnam veteran who started the archery program, Jerry Gronchick, months to get it off the ground.

Gronchick says it was worth the money and effort, because it helps him as much as it may help other veterans.

While it's the first time that some veterans are using a bow at the Archery Zone, it may not be surprising that they have pretty good aim. The true target, though, is tackling life after serving our country.

"It is therapy for me to work with veterans with the same type of stuff," said Gronchick.

Gronchick started the program and paid for almost all the equipment out of his own pocket. He also worked to get time at the Archery Zone in Larksville donated.

This sport helped him and other instructors deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“They come in and they are usually quiet and reserved. Then they really open up and they really enjoy themselves."

"This is awesome to do a program like this, it really is," said veteran Gary Lawrence.

The archery program is a form of recreational therapy. Gronchick believes veterans surrounded by other veterans helps them deal with PTSD through building camaraderie.

"Since I've been here, I have met quite a few guys. We are all getting along very well. We got to different meetings to talk about PTSD and things of that nature, and it's really paying off," said veteran Donnell Sullivan.

"It doesn't matter where you at, when you are just around other veterans you just have this sense of communication and brotherhood. It's way different," said veteran Adam Kudell.

Jerry Gronchick says he's proud to have dedicated part of his life to serve his country, and even more proud to use this program to dedicate the rest of it to those who've served with him.

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