Middle Tennessee group 'thrilled' about lawmakers' action on outdoor therapy for veterans

Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 17:58:12-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Last month, Congress passed the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, creating a task force to study how outdoor recreation can be used to help veterans after they return home.

"I'm thrilled that it's being officially recognized," Justin Matejcek said. The Army veteran is the founder of the Veterans Adventure Group, a Middle Tennessee-based nonprofit that takes combat veterans on extreme sports trips across the country.

"There's so many veterans out there like me that, they may not have a mental diagnosis from the VA, but we're missing something and we're just not doing great," Matejcek explained. "The environment that we're trained to thrive in just doesn't really exist outside the military unless it's manufactured, and you can manufacture it through extreme sports."

The group has brought veterans on everything from mountaineering to sky diving trips. In 2018, NewsChannel 5 joined the group as they explored a cave in Northern Alabama.

Matejcek said the new measure could someday make resources like his group more accessible and could also open more doors for the organization itself.

"Our biggest problem is that we have more veterans that apply than we can serve," he said. "If this bill will allow us to get access to more federal funding, that would be great."