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Construction Begins on Veterans Life Center with Demolition of Existing Structures at the Site

Dust and Debris Falling

Dust and Debris Falling

Heavy equipment from EHG Environmental and Demolition Services Company was on the site of the Veterans Life Center on September 26, 2016 to begin the demo process. The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of October, with site preparation to follow and then construction of the new building can begin.
The site is a handsome 9.2 acre plot atop a tree-scattered hill at the corner of 9th and H streets in Butner, North Carolina, which was leased to VLC by the NC Council of State. Construction funding has been realized through a HUD Community Development Block Grant. It is hoped the facility will be open in the fourth quarter of 2017.


Senators Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis headlined a VLC Fund-raiser at the Airborne and Special Ops Museum in Fayetteville

Senators Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis headlined a VLC Fund-raiser at the Airborne and Special Ops Museum in Fayetteville

Senators Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis Make Pitch for Veterans at VLC Fundraiser

FAYETTEVILLE, January 5, 2016. Speaking at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Thom Tillis agreed that the country has not done enough to help veterans of the Iraq-Afghanistan era reintegrate into society following their service.

The event was sponsored by the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – Cares (VLC), which is building a facility in Butner, North Carolina that will eventually provide temporary housing and rehabilitative services for up to 150 homeless and at-risk North Carolina Veterans.

“Our goal is to help each veteran we serve find a constructive and personally satisfying role in civil society,” said John Turner, executive director of the VLC.

Senator Ernst is the only female combat veteran ever to serve in the Senate. In 2003, she served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years of military service.

She serves with Senator Tillis on the House Armed Services Committee. Tillis also serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee where he advocates for North Carolina’s rich military tradition. As Speaker of the NC House of Representatives from 2011 to 2014, he led the fight to fund the Veterans Life Center project.

WRAL-TV highlights Claire’s Flip-Flops to Combat Boots shoe drive.

Sanford, N.C. — An 11-year-old Sanford girl is on a mission to help veterans by collecting shoes and raising money.

To View the WRAL video please click here

“We take old shoes. They just can’t have a hole bigger than a quarter,” said Claire Ledford.

This is the second year Ledford is raising money for the Veterans Leadership Council. She works with an organization that will buy the donated shoes and fix them to sell in developing countries. The money raised will stay in North Carolina to help local veterans.

“They are risking their lives every single day they are out there, and we are at home in our comfy chairs and big, nice houses with air conditioning. They are out there in the weather, and we should really give back to them when they get home,” Ledford said.

For drop off locations please click here.

Waste Industries Announces Donation to VLC

Raleigh, September 15, 2015. In recent months VLC has been honored to receive donations from several foundations, trusts and industry funds, including the Edge Family Foundation, the Golden Leaf Foundation, the John William Pope Foundation, the Kenan Family Trust and others.

The Waste Industries Full Circle Charitable Fund has joined this community of VLC Supporters. Waste Industries is a Raleigh-based multistate company and a leader in the waste collection and recycling field. At a ceremony in their offices yesterday, Waste Industries CEO Ven Poole presented John Turner, VLC Executive Director, with a check for $10,000 from their Full Circle Charitable Fund.

For more information, click here.

Waste Industries

FOR RELEASE JUNE 16, 2016
CONTACT: JAY BRYANT
919-803-5516
info@vlcnc-cares.org

Jim Gardner Named Flag Day Volunteer of the Year

Jim Gardner has been named 2015 Flag Day Volunteer of the Year by the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – CARES. In recognition of the honor, he was presented the “Flag Patch Plaque” – so-called because it contains a real U.S. Army Flag Shoulder Patch worn by a combat soldier in Iraq.

The annual award was given in recognition of Mr. Gardner’s “Resolute leadership and distinguished service to The Veterans Life Center and the cause of homeless and at-risk veterans.”

In presenting the award, VLCNC Executive Director John Turner said, “Mr. Gardner has given tirelessly of his time and talent in organizing efforts to raise the funds necessary to design and develop the program for the Veterans Life Center.”

The Veterans Life Center, a project of the VLCNC, is currently in the design and engineering phase on the campus of the John Umstead hospital complex in Butner. When completed, it will provide transitional housing and rehabilitation services for homeless and at-risk veterans from throughout North Carolina.

Funding for the design and construction of Phase I of the project is being covered by a HUD Community Development Block Grant administered by the State of North Carolina. VLCNC is raising money from private sources to cover the up-front cost of developing and administering the rehabilitation program once the center is completed.

Mr. Gardner is a North Carolina businessman who opened the first Hardees restaurant in Rocky Mount, NC in 1961 and led the company in its early years. Gardner later served as a Member of Congress and as Lt. Governor of North Carolina.

The Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – CARES was formed in 2009 to fight homelessness, suicide and other serious problems faced by Veterans in North Carolina.

Former Lt. Governor Jim Gardner (L) accepts the VLC Flag Day Award from VLC Exec Director John Turner. Former Lt. Governor Jim Gardner (L) accepts the VLC Flag Day Award from VLC Exec Director John Turner.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: JAY BRYANT 240-299-2969
jbryant@vlcnc-cares.org

DURHAM GIRL SCOUTS COLLECT ITEMS FOR NEEDY VETS

RALEIGH, NC, Saturday, May 16, 2015. A few months ago, 13 year-old Mary Margaret Johnson spotted a homeless veteran holding a cardboard sign at a stop light in Durham. It got her thinking about how she could help needy veterans. Her mother, Ruby, had recently read an article about the Veterans Leadership Council, and knew the organization is building a facility in Butner for homeless and at-risk veterans.

Mary is a Girl Scout in Troop 1335, and her mother is the troop leader, so they decided to discuss the matter at the next meeting. After the meeting, Mary contacted the VLC, and following a few e-mail exchanges it was agreed that the scouts would collect toothbrushes, toothpaste and other dental supplies for use by Veterans Life Center residents when the center opens later this year, or early in 2016.

In conjunction with their Thinking Day in February, all Girl Scouts in the Durham 11-208 Service Unit were asked to collect the items. Parents, Durham area dental offices and others responded to the girls’ efforts, and today, Mary and the others in Troop 1335, based at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church, presented hundreds of dental hygiene items to John Turner, VLC Executive Director, in Raleigh.

“Few things are more heartwarming than the willingness of children to step forward and do what they can to help veterans trying to cope with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and other conditions that are preventing them from reintegrating into society following their service,” Turner said. “It’s a big part of the community of support for veterans we are tying to build.”

Turner presented each of the girls with a special “Kids 4 Vets” button in recognition of their efforts.

The Veterans Life Center is a project of the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – Cares. It will be housed on a campus of eight buildings which has been leased by the NC Council of State to the VLC. At this time, renovation of the first and largest of the buildings is in the architectural and engineering phase, which is being funded by a CDBG grant from the NC Department of Commerce. The renovated building will provide transitional housing, room and board, and a battery of coordinated care services, including behavioral and physical health, life skills training, family reunification, educational certification and community integration counseling to 150 veterans. When fully built out, the campus will service 400 male and female veterans and dependent children.

Left to right –Ruby Johnson (Mom and Girl Scout Troop Leader) Brianna Cox, John Turner (VLC Exec. Dir.), Kate Cross, Abi Stover, Beth Cross (Mom and Girl Scout Troop Leader), Mary Margaret Johnson

Left to right –Ruby Johnson (Mom and Girl Scout Troop Leader) Brianna Cox, John Turner (VLC Exec. Dir.), Kate Cross, Abi Stover, Beth Cross (Mom and Girl Scout Troop Leader), Mary Margaret Johnson

kids 4 vets small

The Stanley News & Press
February 23, 2015

DPS Joining Forces with VLC

The following is from the Department of Public Safety:

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is joining forces with the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – Cares to better assist veterans that come in contact with the criminal justice system.

Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry signed a memorandum of agreement with the VLC. The charitable organization is in the process of developing a facility to provide transitional housing and therapeutic services to homeless and at-risk Veterans throughout North Carolina.

This facility will be known as the Veterans Life Center.

“It is our duty to honor and serve our veterans that have given so much to our state,” said Secretary Perry. “The Veterans Life Center will be an important step to address vital needs of our own veterans here in North Carolina, which is not only one of Governor Pat McCrory’s priorities, but one of the priorities at the Department of Public Safety.”

Perry outlined ways in which the DPS and VLCNC-CARES partnership will help to improve the lives of veterans. “Working groups will be established to design a program of mutual cooperation as a beginning. The DPS mission closely aligns with that of the Veterans Life Center,” he added. “This partnership will enhance services and change lives.”

“Governor McCrory has made veterans a priority in ways never seen before in North Carolina and that momentum continues to build. We are offering more services for more veterans in more places than ever before,” said Ilario Pantano, Marine combat veteran and Director of Veterans Affairs.

John Turner, Executive Director of VLCNC-CARES, was present at the signing. “We look forward to working with DPS as we bring the Veterans Life Center on line,” Turner said. “I want to thank Secretary Perry and his staff for their understanding and support of our program.”

Special Assistant to Secretary Perry, Brigadier General (Retired) James R. Gorham is overseeing the department’s efforts.

The Veterans Life Center will be located in a converted 56,000 square foot state-owned building on the campus of the John Umstead Hospital Complex in Butner. The building has been leased to VLCNC-CARES by the State, and is currently being renovated with funds from a $4.2 million Community Development Block Grant, awarded last year to VLCNC-CARES through the Town of Butner. It will house up to 150 homeless and at-risk Veterans, who will receive a customized battery of services including physical and behavioral health, life skills training, family reintegration, educational certification and community integration.

An additional seven buildings have also been leased by VLCNC-CARES, and will be renovated as Phase II of the Veterans Life Center, bringing the total capacity up to 400. Governor Pat McCrory referenced the Veterans Life Center in his State of the State address last week, citing it as one of the important veterans initiatives launched by his administration. Additional information is available at www.vlccares.org.

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Presentation of VLC “Veteran’s Best Friend” Plaque to Senator Thom Tillis

On January 6, 2015, VLC Executive Director John Turner presented a special plaque to Senator Thom Tillis on the occasion of his swearing in as United States Senator from North Carolina. Tillis, who previously served as Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly, was instrumental in promoting cooperation between VLC and state government, and in recognition, the plaque honoring him as “The North Carolina Veteran’s Best Friend” was presented.

Senator Tillis, Mrs. Tillis, VLC Executive Director John Turner

Senator Tillis, Mrs. Tillis, VLC Executive Director John Turner

John Turner and Senator Thom Tillis

John Turner and Senator Thom Tillis

Governor McCrory Tours Future Veterans Life Center in Butner

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, (r) and Veterans Leadership Council Executive Director John Turner, (l) on the steps of the soon to be renovated Veterans Life Center in Butner, NC.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, (r) and Veterans Leadership Council Executive Director John Turner, (l) on the steps of the soon to be renovated Veterans Life Center in Butner, NC.

JDNews.com

Butner, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory toured the future Veterans Life Center (VLC) in Butner today. The VLC will reside in Building 71 at the John Umstead Hospital Complex and is designed to serve homeless veterans and those struggling with mental health, substance abuse and other problems hindering their transition into civilian life.

“It’s been said that the best way to honor the men and women who gave their lives defending our country is to take care of those who fought beside them,” Governor McCrory said. “That’s exactly what we are going to do here at the Veteran’s Life Center.”

When completed, the VLC will house 150 veterans while providing the services they need to reclaim their lives. To achieve this goal, the VLC will provide veterans: clean, safe housing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, vocational training and mentoring, as well as life skills training.

The project is being spearheaded by the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina, founded by John Turner, a former Army officer and Iraq combat veteran. The council is leasing the building from the State of North Carolina. In May, Governor McCrory announced the town of Butner received a $4.25 million Community Redevelopment Block Grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce for the project.

The council has partnered with numerous agencies to provide top-notch help for vets. These partners include:

    • The Durham VA Medical Center
    • The Department of Public Safety
    • The North Carolina National Guard Behavioral Health Unit
    • The Department of Justice
    • The University of North Carolina System including UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, NC Central, East Carolina, Fayetteville State and Appalachian State.
    • Additional educational support will be delivered through the community colleges and private educational providers such as Duke University and Medical Center.

The VLC also has a Medical Advisory Board to oversee medical and behavioral programming to ensure the quality and effectiveness of treatments and therapies.

“The success of the Veteran’s Life Center will be measured by the restored lives and family relationships of the veterans who stay here,” Governor McCrory said. “That assistance will be repaid to the people of North Carolina many times over by the contributions and leadership of veterans who were given a second chance by the VLC to come home.”

 

Veterans Leadership Council Launches Push-Up Challenge

RALEIGH, NC. SEPTEMBER 29, 2014. Every day, 22 American veterans commit suicide. Last year, more than 8,000 homeless North Carolina veterans contacted the VA for help.

The Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – CARES was formed to combat these problems. The NC Council of State has given the VLC a $1-a-year lease on a campus of buildings in Butner to build the Veterans Life Center, and they have received a $4.2 million Community Development Block Grant to refurbish the first building.

But the VLC has to raise private funds to develop the program of care that will truly bring the help needed to those veterans suffering from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and other maladies that prevent them from successfully reintegrating into civilian life.

So the VLC is launching a program called the Push-Up challenge. The idea is to get people to do 22 push-ups, contribute $22 to help fund the Veterans Life Center, and challenge their friends to do likewise. People are also invited to video their efforts at the push-ups, and post the videos on their Facebook pages.

“This is an interesting and entertaining way for people to make a real contribution to a very serious problem,” said John Turner, Executive Director of VLCNC-CARES. “The Veterans Life Center is designed to provide clean, safe housing, state-of-the-art mental health services, substance abuse services, life skills and job training…all to get these people who defended us re-integrated back into society.”

People wanting more information about VLCNC-CARES, the Veterans Life Center or the Push-Up Challenge can visit www.vlccares.org.

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Wake Weekly
June 14, 2014

David Robinson Named Flag Day Man of the Year

June 14, 2014. David S. Robinson, a counsel at Nexsen Pruet in Raleigh has been named 2014 Flag Day Volunteer of the Year by the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – CARES. In recognition of the honor, he was presented the “Flag Patch Plaque” – so-called because it contains a real U.S. Army Flag Shoulder Patch worn in combat in Iraq.

The annual award was given in recognition of Mr. Robinson’s “Resolute leadership and distinguished service to The Veterans Life Center and the cause of homeless and at-risk veterans.”

In presenting the award, VLCNC Executive Director John Turner said, “Mr. Robinson was the indispensable man in our efforts to secure a HUD Community Development Block Grant for the Town of Butner, so we could build the largest home and treatment center for homeless veterans in North Carolina.”

The grant was announced on May 26, 2014, and the VLCNC, along with the Town of Butner have begun the construction process, which will turn a vacant building at the John Umstead Hospital campus into a facility to house and service 150 veterans from throughout North Carolina.

Retired North Carolina Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, who serves on the VLCNC Board of Advisors, said the award to Mr. Robinson was well deserved. “David Robinson contributed his legal expertise and countless hours to making the grant a reality,” Mitchell said. “Because of his efforts, we are closer to solving the problem of homelessness among veterans in our state.”

Mr. Robinson specializes in international law, commercial law and mergers and acquisitions at Nexsen Pruet’s Raleigh office. He is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the US Court of International Trade. He is a Trustee of Wake Tech Community College, Chair of the Wake County Board of Elections and a Fellow of the Institute of Political Leadership.

The Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – CARES was formed in 2009 to fight homelessness, suicide and other serious problems faced by Veterans in North Carolina.

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Homeless veterans in NC need, help

NewsObserver.com
June 3, 2014

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have put Veterans Affairs under siege to provide more care, and the injuries sustained by many veterans will create for them lifelong needs. But these vets have another cruel challenge: The country they served still is recuperating from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and jobs are scarce.

For many vets, that translates into poverty and homelessness, a fate they do not deserve. Some had job prospects before they entered military service and understandably believed they could rejoin the civilian workforce when they came home. Recession changed that.

Toward addressing the problem, the town of Butner has received a grant from the Community Development Block Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to renovate a complex for
homeless veterans on the site of the former John Umstead Hospital, a facility that dates to World War II.

It will be called the Veterans Life Center. And therein, these veterans in truly desperate circumstances will be exposed to hope. They’ll get medical care, counseling, help with breaking the cycle of substance abuse and assistance with learning vocations.

Those who go to Butner – participation will follow guidelines of other such centers – will be given a chance they need and, yes, one they have earned. This country always has prided itself on taking care of the men and women who have served in uniform, and this sort of care must become more commonplace in helping the modern-day warrior.

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 Butner receives federal grant to build veterans housing

By Jonathan Black, NewsObserver.com
June 2, 2014

BUTNER — The town has received a $4.2 million grant to fund the first phase of a complex which aims to house homeless and at-risk veterans.

The Veterans Life Center will use the grant to refurbish the first and largest building at the former John Umstead Hospital, which was built as an Army hospital during World War II. “Building 71,” as it is currently known, will hold up to 150 veterans when completed early next year.

The criteria for deciding who will live at the center will follow guidelines used by similar programs in Asheville and San Diego, said John Turner, executive director of Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES, a veteran-owned nonprofit based in Raleigh.

“Right now we are focused on renovating,” Turner said. “As we get closer to the ribbon-cutting, we will announce the criteria for veterans to live at the center.”

The buildings that will become the Veterans Life Center are now vacant. When all eight buildings are refurbished, the center will be able to hold up to 400 residents.

In addition to providing free room and board, the center will offer professional counseling and wellness services in areas such as substance abuse, mental health, vocational education and mentoring. The first building will create 26 jobs.

Money to operate the first building will come from federal and private grants as well as private donations.

“We’ll be able to tailor services to the need of each specific veteran,” Turner said. “We are building a community of public and private support to better care for North Carolina’s veterans.”

The grant for the first phase came from the Community Development Block Grant program, which is run through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Planning to apply for the grant began in
summer 2011, after VLC signed the lease to the buildings from the state.

The cost of developing the rest of the center has not been determined.

“We are doing this in phases, so we know the grant will cover the cost of ‘Building 71,’ ” Turner said. “We can’t predict the costs of other phases as we go forward.”

Ilario Pantano, director of the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs, said the winding down of the war in Afghanistan is forcing people to focus on veterans’ issues.

“The awareness of homeless veterans has raised, and the public has become outraged because of it,” Pantano said. “It’s a state effort that we all have some role in.”

North Carolina has the fourth-largest active-duty military population in the country and has upward of 8,000 homeless veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“If we had one it would be too many,” Pantano said. “North Carolina is a magnet for veterans, and we need to make sure we take care of all of them.”

Black: 919-829-4835; Twitter: @j_black13

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First phase of $11M Veterans Life Center in Butner to open in early 2015

Amanda Jones Hoyle, Staff Writer- Triangle Business Journal
May 27, 2014

More details are coming out about the proposed new Veterans Life Center facility for homeless military veterans at the John Umstead  Hospital Complex in Butner.

John Turner, executive director of the Raleigh nonprofit agency supporting the proposed Veterans Life Center, says the renovation of the building known as Building 71 on the campus will be the first of eight buildings they expect to use by completion of the VLC. A $4.2 million federal grant recently awarded to the Town of Butner on behalf of the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES nonprofit (via the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s community development block program) will be enough to cover most of the costs of opening Building 71, the largest of the eight buildings.

Turner says the VLC will employ about 26 people when it opens in early 2015, and it will have enough beds to house 150 veterans and their families on a temporary basis.

When all eight facilities are completed, it will have enough beds for about 400 homeless veterans, or a total cost of about $11.2 million. The VLC will also have staff providing professional counseling, health and wellness services, mentoring and other support services to help the veterans become self-sufficient again.

The buildings were originally constructed during World War II to serve as a hospital for the U.S. Army, but they are currently vacant. The North Carolina Council of State in 2013 agreed to leased the buildings for 25 years to the VLC-Cares for use as a facility to provide services for homeless and at risk veterans.

A sold-out, fund-raising event on behalf of Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES was among the first banquets that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory attended after being sworn in as governor in January 2013.

VLC-Cares’ advisory committee also includes former Governors Jim Hunt and Jim Martin and former Chief Justice Burley Mitchell.

U.S. Veterans Administration data shows that there are about 8,000 homeless veterans in North Carolina.

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate. Follow her on Twitter @TBJrealestate

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McCrory announces federal grant for Veterans Life Center

May 27, 2014

vlc-001

RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Pat McCrory announced Monday that a $4.2 million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to create a facility for homeless veterans.

An unused state building in Butner will become the Veterans Life Center, a place where homeless vets can find the services they need to become independent once again, according to a statement.

The center will offer health and wellness services including counseling for substance abuse and mental health, nutrition services and life skills development.

“Perhaps the greatest way we can honor our military men and women who died in combat is by recognizing the men and women who fought right beside them,” McCrory said.

The goal of the program is to achieve self-reliance for up to 150 veterans in two years or less, the
statement said. The project will benefit homeless veterans from all areas of the state.

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