Leslie Booth, co-owner of Wild Brush Studios in McKinney, and her sister-in-law, Woodland Elementary School teacher Jayme Hayes, decided recently to host a painting night to raise funds to benefit the Freedom Care Warrior Project’s Warrior Ranch.


Hayes has been involved with FCWP since summer 2013, when founder Jon Van Winkle invited her to volunteer there. After a few sessions, Hayes came up with the idea of hosting a painting night and presented it to her sister-in-law, who eagerly agreed. 


“I thought that it would be a good fundraiser and get people to know about FCWP,” Hayes said.


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The FCWP is an organization that delivers direct support to physically and psychologically injured combat veterans through innovative, outdoor-based therapies and pioneering research. 


One of the many beneficiaries of the FCWP is U.S. Army Veteran Major Rex Vehrs of Flower Mound. He has not only spent time at the Warrior Ranch but volunteers his time by spreading the word about FCWP and participating in events.


“I help out my fellow wounded warriors and (am) getting them helped out with the Freedom Care Warrior Project,” said Vehrs. “(The FCWP is) about the service member, the vet. They sponsor events such as hunting and fishing, offer up a ranch not only for (veterans) but their families, which is integral in the healing process just to have an opportunity to go to a place that is so peaceful and quiet.”


Vehrs said that at the ranch, veterans give each other tactical techniques and procedures (TTPs) to help each other deal with issues and challenges they commonly face.


“It’s been a benefit to many of us in many different ways,” he said.


Vehrs has been in the U.S. army for more than 20 years. He served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and throughout his military career, he has amassed his share of injuries. 


As an airborne ranger, he often jumped out of planes while carrying 80 pounds of equipment. Ground impact from all of his jumps has resulted in two hip replacements and a neck replacement.


Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.