Crews Making Progress On Remodeled Skiatook Overlook
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs said as many as 20 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Recreation, exercise and having more contact with other trauma survivors are some of the things experts say can help people with PTSD.
Now a special place to do that, in a beautiful setting, is just about finished.
This past spring, the scenic overlook at Skiatook Lake wasn't really used or maintained. It looked old and in disrepair.
So a non-profit group called Partners for Heroes stepped up to transform the overlook.
11/16/2014 Related Story: Crews Improving Skiatook Lake Overlook To Help Veterans, First Responders
"It was in need of some major repair, and some face-lifting," said Dustin Huff with Partners for Heroes.
An agreement with the Corps of Engineers enables a public/private partnership that fixes up the facilities so veterans and first responders can have a place to go to help them deal with PTSD.
"This allows them a place to get back to nature to go back and reset and recharge, and we hope it allows them to go through some of the healing process that's needed for them," Huff said.
It's the first project of its kind at a Corps of Engineers lake in the nation.
3/17/2014 Related Story: Corps Of Engineers Lakes In Oklahoma To Be Developed
There are still some things to do, but most of the work is finished.
Volunteers fixed structural, electrical and plumbing issues and added much more - fire pits, a pergola, landscaping including 100 new trees, a gazebo.
"Brand new decking has been put in. The superstructure that rests above the overall facility is brand new," Huff said.
The new facility is named in honor of Clint Hill, the secret service agent with President Kennedy when he was assassinated, and who faced PTSD himself for decades.
While the public will be able to use the facility, first priority is given to veterans and first responders to help them heal.
"The Sierra club completed a study and what we continued to hear from a healing perspective from our heroes and veterans is that they needed to see water and be by water," said Huff.
An official dedication ceremony involving volunteers, veterans and first responders, and retired secret service agent Clint Hill will be Saturday.
Also, Saturday, ground will be broken on the second Partners for Heroes project, which is outside Edmond.