How one grant helped this disabled veteran regain her independence
Sergeant Mickey Clayton did not expect to retire after only seven years in the U.S. Army. But while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006, she suffered a serious leg injury and was discharged with 100 percent disability. She now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“All of a sudden, I went from being a young woman with a whole career ahead of me to being in a hospital, and I can't walk. And I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I came to the conclusion that maybe I needed to go back to ranching,” Clayton says.
She was raised on a ranch, and she decided to open a 40-acre heritage sheep and livestock ranch. But because of her injury, she couldn’t walk long distances or navigate parts of the steep, slick terrain. And she couldn’t ride a horse, either.
So she turned to Work Vessels for Veterans, a non-profit that provides tools, machinery or vehicles to returning veterans who are starting their own civilian businesses. With generous support from Newman’s Own, Work Vessels for Veterans has helped more than 1,300 veterans in 48 states.
Clayton says friends suggested she apply for a grant to get an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), so she did — though she wasn’t expecting to actually get it.
“When we found out we got a grant from Newman's Own, it was like a fairy tale had just come true. I was totally surprised,” Clayton says.
She says her family has been purchasing Newman’s Own products for years because they know that the profits go to charity. “Now we’re the beneficiary of one of their grants. It’s amazing,” she adds.
“Getting the ATV was both relieving and empowering, so it makes a really deep difference. It let me feel like I have the ability to be independent again,” says Clayton.
“Nothing ever takes PTSD away, but you do learn how to carry it with better grace. Sheep were what led me to find grace. They allowed me to gain some control back from PTSD,” she says.
For over 30 years, Newman’s Own has helped support thousands of charitable causes and organizations, with close to half a billion dollars being donated since its founding in 1982. Every time you buy a Newman’s Own product, you start a journey toward improving someone’s life — someone like Mickey Clayton.