CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The National Center for Healthy Veterans is developing a major project in Campbell County: a facility meant to house up to 130 veterans at a time, as well as give them the therapy and job training they need to re-enter society.
It’s a project decades in the making, ever since a soldier in Bob Dees’ platoon killed himself.
“That was the night before Easter, and the young widow came to me and said, ‘we hid Easter eggs before my husband killed himself. Could you walk around with me and my young daughter to collect those Easter eggs?”
Dees is a retired Major General and the President of the National Center for Healthy Veterans.
“It really burn into not just my mind but my heart, my soul,” he said.
The more than 300-acre facility plans to provide mental and physical therapy as well as job training and housing for veterans.
“We want to provide a healthy environment so that they can be physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, relationally healthy, get back out in the woodwork of America and do good things,” said Dees.
Assuming the Campbell County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors grant approvals the group is seeking, they plan to have their first 20 tiny homes up and accepting residents before Christmas.
“They’ve designated themselves as a purple heart county, very pro-military, pro-veteran, I think we’re going to get a positive, positive result,” said Russell Nixon, president of Nixon Land Surveying, who is working on the project with site selection and design.
The project will cost about $39 million and will take a decade to fully develop, but some programs can be up and running quickly.
“Because of the facility you see behind me,” said Dees, referring to a photo of a stable, “I think one of the first programs will be equine therapy and handling horses and things.”
Depending on the individual’s needs, they may stay at the facility for a few weeks or up to two years.
There is not yet a formal vetting process to select veterans for the program. Anyone interested should know that while they won’t exclude people based on religion, the program is based on Judeo-Christian doctrine.
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