Acres of Hope and Aspirations

Tools

by Jennifer Tomazic

MUSKEGO -- The recent shooting in Tuscon has brought to light the severity of brain injuries.

There is a place in Muskego that is changing the way victims rehabilitate. It's called Acres of Hope and Aspirations.

"We have wonderful gardens of hope and creatures of rehab that all participate in helping clients and families through the recovery process," said director Lisa Alberte.

The nurse bought the home for her 125 clients after seeing too many of them not get the care they needed to get better. Iraq war veteran Winlom Woods was one of her first patients.

"I was just riding along and all the sudden he said get down and I didn't and I got shot," said Woods. "It (the bullet) went through my brain. It went in my right ear and lodged in the middle of my brain."

Woods has had countless surgeries and Alberte says it's a miracle he's even doing as well as he is.

"I found hope through my nurse, Lisa Alberte. She's stuck by my side. She's been doing things for me no other person would have done," said Woods "I appreciate that."

"There's love, admiration, and support while they're on their journey of recovery, so they can be accepted in a new, but different life," said Alberte.

Lyle Vogel is another one of Alberte's patients who has seen progress since he was beaten up for a few dollars while delivering pizzas.

"When you get beat up severely it changes you," said Vogel.

He's had to learn to deal with his anger and the fact that his hands don't work as well as they used to. An aircraft mechanic by trade, now Vogel's days are filled with cooking and pool. He's okay with that.

"To have someone there, somebody that cares, somebody that monitors you, and somebody to make sure you're safe and secure. It's a good feeling," said Vogel.

Puzzles are one thing that helps the men with their memories and multi-tasking. Doing daily chores like laundry, cooking, and cleaning also help them with their brains and motor skills. Alberte takes the men into town to go shopping, to the bank, and the post office to make sure they're not too far removed from society.

But back at Acres of Hope and Aspirations, it's the animals that the men say they love the most.

Every morning, Vogel finishes up the dishes and looks out the kitchen window to "a pony, ducks, two pigs, two deer in the backyard. You can't beat that."

And there are more: two sheepdog puppies, hens, chickens, a bunny rabbit, donkeys, cats, gooses, a tortoise, and a parrot that says "Packers."

"The animals are very nurturing because they provide love and affection, but they can also help the clients in learning routines," said Alberte.

"I'm so happy they're here," said Woods. "I just love them and they're cute and they're funny and make me laugh."

"You're going to get better. If you come here you're going to get better," said Vogel. "You don't have to worry, it's a marvelous place."

Acres of Hope and Aspirations is funded through donations and volunteers are always welcome. Log onto www.braininjurynurse.comfor more information.

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