LITHIA, Fla. — Transitioning from active duty military to civilian life can be a challenge, but this combat veteran in Lithia that has found an outlet by simply sticking his hands in the dirt.
Russell Guzzetta is used to being on heavy duty machinery, he spent four years aboard the U.S.S Wisconsin Battleship during the Gulf War. He said the tractor makes him feel right at home.
“I think it’s getting back outside, doing the hard work, sweating, not being afraid of change, and adapting to something going wrong and trying to do something better every day,” said Guzzetta.
Following his military service Guzetta said it was important that he focus on a new mission, something that involves hard work but that's also peaceful. So he and his wife started Country Song Farm in Lithia.
"Think about how much better of a perspective you are, experiencing walking through sunflowers rather than battlefields,” said wife Danielle Guzzetta.
The farm is less than an acre, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. They grow more than a dozen types of flowers but sunflowers are their pride and joy.
“They are in high demand, people around here want big flowers, they want big and bold,” said Guzzetta.
He wanted to share how much the farm has helped his life transition with other vets, only to find out hundreds of veterans around the country were already planting and pruning just like him.
“I’m lucky getting out when I did and not having some of the combat injuries people have come out with, but there are guys who lost legs, lost limbs, they have tractors modified for them,” said Guzzetta.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund even recognized Russell’s green thumb, awarding him a tractor through the “Geared to Give Program” which will allow Russell to expand his new mission even further.
“This is only a tenth of an acre that we have beds in and we have two and a half acres so we can probably do this seven more times in our front yard,” said Guzzetta.