Old Man River Nature Retreat (OMRNR) is a non-profit organization located in Southern Missouri. Our retreat is dedicated to helping those suffering from PTSD along with their families. The primary focus will be to help Veterans and First Responders.
OMRNR is run by a husband and wife team, Jim (USMCR) and Cindy, along with their three children. They were both raised by families plagued by war and PTSD. Cindy came from Cambodia, a country ravaged by war. Her family was forced to flee with her at a very young age to escape genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. She grew up hearing all the horrible ways they lost family and friends who were tortured and killed. Those who survived endured torture and imprisonment including her father.
Jim’s father was a Vietnam Vet who served in the 82nd Infantry Airborne Division and suffered from PTSD. He grew up visiting his father on the weekends. Together they would go on camping trips to his Dad’s favorite river, the Current River. Missouri is blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes and pristine rivers you can find. In those quiet and private moments, the family could see how the memories of the war took its toll on their father. Jim and his Dad were very close, when things got hectic they would pack up and go to the river, sometimes only having bologna to eat and would hope to catch some fish for dinner. This was their happy place, a place to unwind and relax and commune with nature. The whole family shared so much joy together camping at the river; playing, fishing, and sitting around the campfire telling stories and laughing.
Jim’s father, like many of our warriors suffered silently from the emotional and health issues caused by exposure to the perils of war and trauma. His PTSD and cancer related health issues, caused by exposure to agent orange, slowly weakened his father throughout the years. In April 2016, Jim’s father passed suddenly. He always wanted to buy some property and develop it so his family and friends could camp out and enjoy it together. Unfortunately, this never happened. His passing inspired Jim and Cindy to follow their dreams of opening a retreat dedicated to helping those who suffer, by reconnecting them with nature. They hoped to have the retreat open prior to his passing so that he could enjoy it as well. Everyone knew how much he loved camping and being at the river, so he was nicknamed, “Old Man River”. The retreat will be created in his honor and for all those suffering from the silent but deadly illness known as PTSD.
Research has shown that nature and running water relaxes the mind, rejuvenates the body and lifts the spirit. OMRNR wanted to have a place that encompassed the beauty of nature with the relaxation and healing properties of water. These are some of the reasons why those suffering from PTSD find water and nature so soothing.
After looking at several properties for over two years, they recently purchased their dream property. The entire family has completely fallen in love with it. The land has 43 acres of both woods and open fields. A spring fed creek flows through the property into a 4-5 acre stocked lake. From the lake, the water returns to the the creek through a small but immensely beautiful and loud rushing waterfall. Trails are being created throughout the woods as well as a lot of general land maintenance. The retreat is located in Potosi Mo and will eventually incorporate cabins, camping, hiking, group story time around bonfires, organic gardening and trail rides. OMRNR also wants to learn the latest and greatest practices to help people who have experienced trauma. Their mission is to offer guests an atmosphere to relax the mind, rejuvenate the body and lift the spirit. OMRNR hopes this will assist guests in making small changes in their daily lives to heal & find peace.