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Ax throwing hitting the mark for veterans

Backyard axe throwing league takes place in east Nashville (WZTV).




NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for Veterans. The VA calls it, "yet another action honoring their service." It

This has been mandated through legislation since 2015. Only those Veterans with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans.

“The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With the card, Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain Veteran discounts and other services.”

It's just one avenue that is hitting the mark for veterans.

The battle doesn't end after service for soldiers like Michael Bennett. The disabled veteran served 20 years in the Marines and Army.

Bennett says, "PTSD, I've got a TBI, I've got a few purple hearts. The fact I was trained to be a soldier my whole life and then now I have to turn it off and be a civilian, it's hard to transition."

"The walls are put in place without fully understanding and that's common amongst veterans because we've experienced things that a lot of civilians haven't. Trauma can come in lots of different ways," says Jonathan League.

Therapy comes in various forms, according to the League, the general manager of BATL, The Backyard Axe Throwing League. BATL has grown in the past decade from Canada to several locations nationwide. League, a veteran as well, partnered with the founder to open a location in Music City. While League built his first target, he says a friend...

"Was completely changed. He didn't need drugs or a long talk. He just needed to throw an ax," explains League.

"It's like shooting pool or throwing darts or any other event, but there's something kind of primal," says Zac Jenkins.

As the owner of Semper Sliders and a veteran, Jenkins brought his own customers and servicemen to BATL on Sunday.

Jenkins says, "It's fun. I love throwing axes, but you know supporting my brothers in arms and their passion to start a business is a big part of it as well. "

The Marine continues to partner On Target 4 Vets today. Bennett volunteers for the local non-profit that helps disabled veterans with adaptive sports and recreational therapy. Bennett says League is a friend and added the ax therapy to the mix.

"I enjoy it, I've been playing for about a year now," adds Bennett.

"Such a good stress reliever. After unraveling a ball of Christmas lights..." says Aaron Reece, an active duty Naval Reserve serviceman.

While BATL is proving to hit the spot for a wide range of participants, the VA is also aiming to improve proof of service with new VIC's.

Reece says, "It's just going to make things easier for people when they have to prove they're military, that they don't have a set of papers they just get an id card like the military id you used to have. one less complication, one less thing to keep up with."

The VIC provides a more portable and secure alternative for those who served the minimum obligated time in service, but did not meet the retirement or medical discharge threshold. Veterans who served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and who have a discharge of honorable or general (under honorable conditions) can request a VIC.

To request a VIC, Veterans must visit vets.gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom left of the page and sign in or create an account.

Veterans who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status of their cards at vets.gov. A digital version of the VIC will be available online by mid-December.

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