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Forge Through has been shaped and honed by first responders and ex military personnel  who have walked the road you have. Forge Through has been designed to fill the void of many contemporary mental health strategies.

Forge Through puts the individual in an environment that is supportive, creative and challenging. It allows participants to work individually and as a team to provide opportunities for self discovery and growth.

At the end of your stay you will walk away with an enormous sense of pride in what you have created as well as forging some mates that will support you with your journey. 


Dean Hamilton Forge Through

dean hamilton



Dean Hamilton is a bladesmith and creator of the Forge Through Program. His intention for the rogram is to provide a creative getaway for veterans and first responders that may be dealing with the mental and physical stressors that are so often associated with their careers.

Dean is former soldier and law enforcement officer that was medically retired as a result of the mental toll of his career. In conjunction with other treatments, he mustered the courage to challenge himself one more time. He overcame every urge to remain at home and went to a forge to learn how to make a knife. Those two days of fire and steel changed his life, and he realised that he had escaped his darker thoughts for the first time in a long while.


Since that day he has made hundreds of knives and forged a living from the pursuit. Becoming lost in the creation of a knife is as effective for him today as it was back then and his thoughts very rarely wander from the task at hand.

One of the greatest things Dean has experienced through his PTSD journey was the support from someone who knew what he was feeling, someone who knew what he was going through. Through forging friendships, his life has changed. There is no doubt, his battle with PTSD has turned in a positive direction and he can now share his experience with others.

Jeff Bott-Sherman Forge Through

jeff bott-sherman

program ambassador

Jeff was the first participant of the Forge Through Program. During his time at Bolaro, he found that he and Dean shared many similar experiences around their PTSD journey, although their service and lives had never crossed. From that time on, Jeff and Dean committed to supporting each other to ensure that the program remained as sincere and heartfelt as the very first course.


After an 18 year career in the Army, Jeff was medically discharged – disillusioned, feeling isolated, and dealing with the toll taken by his career. He looked for ways to create a distraction – some not always beneficial to his rehabilitation. Ultimately, he found that the road back for him was through other people who had walked a similar path.


He strongly believes in the benefits of mentoring and fostering personal relationships. He now proudly acts as the Program ambassador and assists with promoting it to connect future participants and resources. Jeff’s love of helping others enabled him to offer his time and experience to the Program. He has found it to be fantastic compliment to his holistic health strategy. In his down time, he loves nothing more than getting back to Bolaro and helping Dean with mentoring and facilitating Forge Through.

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