CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – With more than 300 acres on Valor Farm in Altavista, the National Center for Healthy Veterans is building 100 tiny homes for veterans, first responders and families of those who have served.
Jeffrey Horne, chief operating officer and vice president, says with an average 22 veterans committing suicide a day, the site is meant to be a transitional program where residents spend time healing and getting the tools they need to get back into the workforce.
“We’ve got a great challenge. These folks have been through a lot of trouble while defending this great country and way of life that we have here; and we just want to give back,” said Horne.
Each home will occupy either one individual or a family of four to six people. Residents will be responsible for their rent, which the organization declined to comment on how much that will be.
Four of the 100 homes are under construction.
Horne says the project has been decades in the making.
“The day that we threw this first home up, I have to tell you as a tough, old paratrooper, the emotion that wells up in you is pretty darn huge,” said Horne.
Some of those helping with construction are not only doing it to help veterans, but they themselves are either veterans, first responders or family members of those who have served. Some of them will move into the homes.
Joseph Dopp is one of them. He’s a former law enforcement officer from New York, who retired in 1999 due to injuries, and comes from a large military family.
“There’s a lot of challenges, so with my past experience and people that I’m meeting here with their experience, we can help each other,” said Dopp.
Steve Patten, the project manager, never served in the military, but his late brother was in the U.S. Navy and Army. As Patten moves forward to help other veterans, his brother is gone but not forgotten.
“He’s in my mind and my heart every single day, and as I reach out and be a part of this project to help veterans, he will just be with me every step of the way,” said Patten.
All while helping others take their next step.