“I volunteered to join the Marine Corps, and volunteered to become a combat engineer. I wanted to do the job where someone had to put themselves in harm’s way, to go out first and make sure the guys behind me were not in danger.” Primarily tasked with obstacle breaching and IED detection, Rob lost both legs to an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010. Yet he went on to bicycle across the United States, run a month of marathons – 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different cities – and win a medal for rowing in the London Paralympics.
“Transitioning from the military into civilian life can be really challenging and one of the ways I have coped is to create goals for myself.” Still, Rob has more goals. He and his wife Pam are in their first season farming 13 acres in Virginia. They own the property and the day to day business is run by Pam and her business partner Sarah Waybrigh; Rob helps with the big renovation projects. They plan to expand their CSA, host on-farm workshops, and sustain an income from the land.
The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund is purchasing a flame weeder and greenhouse supplies for the farm – which are essential as they start all their seeds early next season to get a jump start on things!
“I am a problem solver, an inventor, a big picture thinker. Farming is hard. There are failures and disappointments; sometimes you have to reinvent the wheel to get something to work. I have the passion to keep driving forward and improvise, adapt and overcome my problems. Just like in the military, I think this serves me well in farming.”