PINEVILLE, Mo. — A local veteran is using outdoor adventure, razor-back riding, and small-group discussions to remind other veterans that their best life is in front of them.

“What to do with their lives after taking that uniform off, is my life over?” said Sgt. Maj. Lance Nutt, Sheep Dog Impact Assistance Founder/CEO.

Sadly, this is something many veterans struggle with after leaving the service, a sense of purpose.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2020, more than 6,000 veterans committed suicide.

That’s a number Sergeant Major Lance Nutt is out to lower, with the use of “Heroes Ranch” in Pineville.

“You are the best that society has to offer, men and women that are willing to serve, sacrifice, and potentially die in fighting for their nation and for others. That’s the best, as a nation, we have to offer, and if we can’t get those men and women in a good place and keep them there, then we’re losing such an important asset to our country,” said Nutt.

Nutt was in the Marine Corps for 30 years, with several tours overseas.

He also spent time as a recruiter before starting the “Sheep Dog Impact Assistance” back in 2010.

He adds service is in his blood.

“My father being a 20-year Marine, I was always so proud of him and his service, even though he was gone so much of my life unfortunately. I know it was hard on him, it was hard on my mother and sister, but the pride I took in his service and the service of so many of the brave men and women that surrounded me. I was proud of it,” said Nutt.

And the question you’ve probably been wondering, what is a sheepdog?

“Imagine that man or woman that’s running into a burning building when everyone else is sane enough to run out of it. That man or woman that is running into shots fired and chaos, that is a sheepdog, that is a man or woman that has that innate desire to serve and protect others,” said Nutt.

Heroes Ranch was built earlier this year and gives veterans and first responders struggling with the likes of PTSD a safe, fun environment to be with others in a similar situation as them, something to help them build a better future.