By Cindy Jo Ayers
An amazing project to help the severely wounded veterans got underway on Saturday, May 19, right here in Gilchrist County. The groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 of the Camp Valor Project was held at Otter Springs Park. A large group of members of Veterans organizations, local dignitaries, and supportive citizens, as well as Camp Valor Project volunteers, gathered under the big tents. Those attending the groundbreaking were pleased to learn more about the building project and about how Camp Valor will help severely wounded Veterans regain productive lives.
Robert Wells, a Board Member of ForVets, Inc., welcomed the guests and Pastor Maurice Munson gave the invocation. Katherine Lancaster sang the National Anthem. Jesse Lancaster sang a moving rendition of God Bless The USA during the program.
Terry Corson, the State Commander of the AMVETS, was the Keynote Speaker for the event. He spoke of the beautiful 636 acre Otter Springs Park and the great work that the Camp Valor Project will do in the future. Commander Corson was supportive of the Camp Valor Project and the plan to help veterans become whole again after their service and sacrifice for the country. Commander Corson said as this project continues to grow, it will make life a whole lot better for wounded veterans. According to Commander Corson, the programs at Camp Valor should result in less veterans suicide. Currently 20 veterans take their own lives each day. Because of Camp Valor, there will be less veteran unemployment because veterans will leave the camp with a skill. Less homeless veterans because they will learn skills that will help them find a job and keep it. There should be less hopelessness in the veteran community because of the services Camp Valor will provide. Commander Corson talked about the veterans coming into the program saying, “They will be a whole different person leaving here, than when they came here.”
Veterans Rosanna Powers and Margaret Destin both spoke of their service to the country and what they are now doing to help the American veterans recover from war.
The Suwannee River Water Management District as well as the Gilchrist County Commission were thanked for their parts in this project during the program.
Robert Wells gave Dan Cavanah, the President of ForVets Inc., credit for the concept of Camp Valor.
Cavanah hopes the actual construction of the first phase, a 14,000 plus square foot building, will begin this Fall. Sustainable Design Group did the design work for the building. This building will serve as the administrative building and offices for supporting members of the project such as counselors and therapists. There will also be five suites for Veterans and their families as they come into the program. Later the Veterans and their families or family member will move out into a private cabin where they will live during their stay at Camp Valor.
The program will include rehabilitation for the body, education for the mind, business enterprise for the spirit and recreation for the soul. The well deserving veterans will be able to recover and grow with all the services being offered in one location. Camp Valor plans to partner with area colleges and the university for those veterans wanting to further their education.
ForVets is a 501(c)3 Federal Tax Exempt Non-Profit Charitable Organization with the mission of providing a transitional living and learning community with recovery facilities and support service for severely injured United States Veterans.
For Vets Inc. welcomes donations from citizens in the Tri-County area. Donations can be made online at http://forvets.us/ or by simply mailing a check to ForVets, Inc. at P.O. Box 189, Bell, Florida 32619. Make checks payable to ForVets, Inc. All donations are appreciated no matter the size.
During the Groundbreaking Ceremony some $8,000 was donated to the Camp Valor project. This is just the beginning of the funds that need to be raised to fund the multi phase project for the very deserving young men and women who have returned from war with severe disabilities. Cavanah said, “ForVets is depending on your assistance and generosity. Please be assured that your contribution will be put to good use.”
Camp Valor Project Phase 1 Groundbreaking Inspiring
By Cindy Jo Ayers