A fundraising campaign is under way to raise $270,000 for an affordable housing unit for veterans.
Kicked off with the Soar Like an Eagle benefit concert, Welcome All Veterans Everywhere hopes to open the doors of the only veterans housing in Douglas County by Veterans Day.
“It’s an intolerable sight when someone, who has served the country, is unable to find employment and unable to help themselves and their families,” member Barry Penzel said.
The initial $270,000 is required to purchase a piece of land for the 40-unit veterans housing.
If those funds can be raised Nevada Rural Housing has agreed to build the facility.
“If we can come up with that amount, (Nevada Rural Housing) have said they will build the affordable veterans housing on whatever property we can buy with that $270,000,” Penzel said. “Right now we are in building campaign mode.”
The housing unit will offer 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom options as well as a place for the other various outlets WAVE is currently offering to Douglas County’s nearly 6,000 veterans.
“It will be 90-day temporary housing so people can get on their feet. No one would be turned away. It is something we don’t have here in Douglas County,” Penzel said. “We want this to be a gathering point for veterans.”
Currently, WAVE is providing counseling, benefits and employment services through the Douglas County Community & Senior Center.
The new veteran’s home would allow the organization to operate education and counseling sessions within its own building as well as expand its services to others touched by the veteran label.
“Our most immediate focus is to get a facility. We want to expand to help Gold and Blue Star moms and families,” Penzel said. “Even though I’m a vet of a different era, I understand being in combat and being away from your family. I’ve been there. I want to make sure that people know that there is a support group there for them. We want them to have a place to come to and be greeted and have someone to talk to. There is no place like that in Douglas County that offers that kind of talk or support.”
WAVE is already looking at three potential sites for the new facility and veterans’ memorial, with a spring timeline of narrowing it down to the final location.
The presence of veterans and their service will not only be felt by those living in the facility, but also with an envisioned memorial.
“I picture all five service flags in a semi circle with a plaque dedicated to each one of the services with a current list of service members and those that died,” Penzel said. “It might be a little ambitious.”
Donations can be sent to: WAVE, P.O. Box 1675, Minden 89423.
Those who will donate to help make the home a reality will also be honored throughout the building.
For donors of $500 or more, a brick will be placed in the wall of the dayroom encasing the challenge coin made to thank these people.
“All of these bricks will be visible so that you can walk up and see that you’ve done that. It would be a memorial in the wall of the dayroom. All four walls if necessary. That would be a great problem to have,” Penzel said. “Beyond that we are talking about naming some of the facilities for people. We’d like to name all 40 suites after individuals.”
Receiving its designation of a 501c3 in Dec., 2014, WAVE hopes the new facility helps expand fulfillment of their mission statement.
“Carl Schnock is responsible for the name of the organization, and he was the first president of WAVE,” Penzel said. “His suggestion was emblematic of the mission; to help Welcome All Veterans Everywhere. We are trying to get ahold of vets to get them identified to make sure every vet in Douglas County has had contact with WAVE. We want to get ahold of and assist in anyway we can.”
Monthly fundraisers will help reach their $270,000 goal.
“We have one fun thing planned for each month,” Penzel said. “We have a fun run, an auction of military art and a concert performed by veterans who are, in some cases, world class musicians.”
Donations to WAVE can be sent to: WAVE, P.O. Box 1675, Minden 89423.