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The Story Behind #project_avocado

The story behind #project_avocado is, well, still being written, as it unfolds.

According to, in 2014, there were an estimated 2.7 million American soldiers, soldiers of the wars in Oraq and Afghanistan, of which at least 20% reported to suffer from PTSD and depression ( which usually go hand in hand, alobg with substance abuse). There are an estimated 8000 reported veteran suicides a year.

That’s just in America…

My dear friend, Brandon Shonyo, was one of those statistics on April 30, 2013…

PTSD and depression can trap someone in their darkest realms of their mind. They find life to be bleak, and they can feel helpless, stumbling around the dark bumping into things, cursing their darkness.

My photography teacher and mentor, Korey Rowe, is a current statistic, battling his every day darkness in his head. He trudges on through his darkness, trying to encourage others to be inspired.

Project Avocado started out as a whim, just to see if I can succeed at growing my 1st acocados, but now, it has more meaning. When I discovered that Korey loves plants and they are a sort of therapy, the inspiration hit me. He will be given the avocados to plant in his yard that he may enjoy for many years.

I thought that it would be a nice gesture to grow plants for other vets as well, that they may have at least a moment’s break from their darkness.

Korey has inspired me, to reach out to others by way of plants, and to be a light in another’s darkness. I want to raise awareness for veteran PTSD, specifically, and to me, the plants represent a chance for healing and growth.

I am inspired to do this for our current vets to help them heal, and I’m doing it in memory of my friend, Brandon, so that others will not have to know the pain of losing a loved one to suicide!


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