BUTNER — With the turning of the dirt for the groundbreaking on the Veterans Life Center in Butner, a first-of-its-kind facility to focus on 21st century veterans, service men and women in need have new hope.
The Veterans Life Center is designed to have a series of services and programs that will return homeless, troubled and at-risk veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to civilian life.
“Global War on Terror veterans have seen the worst of humanity,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), “Initiatives like this provide a glide path to help them reintegrate and create as many new opportunities for them as we could ever imagine.”
There are approximately 775,000 Veterans are living in North Carolina, one of the most military-friendly states in the nation. Those that have served since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have waged the global war on terror for more than a decade.
“The Veterans Life Center is going to be critical to some of those who have the visible and invisible wounds of war,” added U.S. Sen. Tom Tillis (R-N.C.).
“These veterans are facing one of four things: homelessness, incarceration, suicide or premature death,” said Jay Bryant, communications director for the center. “Some may already be homeless, facing legal trouble or suffering from substance abuse problems. Some of these disabilities may have occurred in service such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.”
Residents will help develop their own customized plans, of varying length, all designed to return them to self-sufficiency in communities throughout the state. Programs areas include: mental fitness and behavioral health care; physical care (daily adult living skills); life skills training; family reunification; spiritual counseling; education certification; and community reintegration.
Readjusting to civilian life includes the center’s ability to help veterans make and keep medical appointments, take prescription drugs for treatments as scheduled, assess family relationships, as well as helping veterans establish a career path or continued education.
“Many veterans enter the service out of high school and never experience living as a regular person in a civil society,” said Bryant. “We have excellent programs that include helping them understand regulations, financial obligations, grooming, behavior for society and more. Jobs are key to veterans being integrated into a community. We’re going to help them enroll at a community college like Vance-Granville and find the skills necessary for the job path they choose.”
Burr and Tillis, along with many state and federal officials, joined the Veterans Life Center community for the groundbreaking on Oct. 27. The Veterans Life Center is slated to open in early 2019 with approximately 100 beds, with space to grow to 150 beds. The facility also includes a full kitchen and dining room, various activity rooms and offices for a staff of 30-40 including case managers, counselors, nurses and other professionals. Male and female residents will receive services on-site or in nearby hospitals, treatment centers and educational institutions.