Operation Homefront Village Welcomes First Families

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2008 - Wounded warriors in need in San Antonio now have a place to call home as they transition from military to civilian life.

The new facility is Operation Homefront's first of four planned transitional housing facilities across the United States.

Jody Brothers from the PGA Tour and representatives from local Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores were on hand to cut the ribbons on the apartments the Wal-Mart Foundation sponsored.

"Thanks to these and other sponsors, wounded warriors and their families can live at Operation Homefront Village rent-free so they can rebuild their financial foundation as they rebuild their health," said Amy Palmer, Operation Homefront's vice president of operations.

Medal of Honor recipients Jack Jacobs and Mike Thornton, for whom the two buildings are named, also participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

All of the 20 two- and three-bedroom units in the complex are spoken for, and a waiting list has been established.

Designed for wounded warriors recuperating at nearby military medical facilities and their families, the units are fully furnished, including computers and Internet access courtesy of CDW-G, which offers technology products and services, and Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor.

The facility also includes a central recreation and community center housing a food pantry, baby furniture, extra beds and a video library. Additionally, the center hosts various Operation Homefront programs. Some of those programs include Wounded Warrior Wives support group, presentations and meetings with career counselors, college education specialists, and other experts whom Operation Homefront has partnered with to help recovering servicemembers move on with their lives.

Most active duty wounded warriors receiving treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center are housed in the barracks, base housing or the Fisher House. However, in its daily collaboration with the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program and other Army case workers, Operation Homefront quickly realized that there is almost no temporary housing in America for wounded warriors who have retired or separated from the military.

"Many of these families have nowhere to live and no money until they receive their disability benefits from (Veterans Affairs)," Palmer said. "Thanks to some unique programs being tested jointly by the Army and the VA, we believe we are seeing the waiting period for VA benefits decrease. In the meantime, however, many wounded warriors need a place to live right now. Operation Homefront is here to help."

Planned Operation Homefront Villages will accommodate needs at Walter Reed Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego, and Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.

Operation Homefront is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

(From an Operation Homefront news release.)

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