By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
July 25, 2008 - Veterans transitioning from war to peace may need a place to call home, whether it's for the long or short term, the executive director of a North Carolina-based program that offers them that and a good bit more said. "The needs we are addressing all, in some way, revolve around temporary and long-term living arrangements that are appropriate for the various challenges that our active duty and military veterans face," Lance Orndorff said about "American Heroes Return."
"Camp Hero" is an integral part of American Heroes Return, which, in turn, is part of the Virginia-based "Place of Solace, Inc."
The camp offers a phased living environment at no cost to active-duty servicemembers or veterans, he said. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or permanent disability and in need of long-term care have access to the home-style camp that offers a mixed-use residential environment with shopping and social and recreational opportunities.
Active-duty servicemembers simply looking for someplace to hang out while they're home for rest and recuperation can stay in simple cabins and take in all that Camp Hero has to offer.
"Active-duty military on terminal leave and veterans post-active duty have a difficult time finding a 'landing zone' when returning to the states or leaving the base," Orndorff said. "They usually need just one to three months of living accommodations, as well as job location and training assistance, to get them reestablished in the civilian sector.
"This is where they can choose from either the rural farm or in-town contemporary housing experience, where they work with others like themselves who are transitioning back into civilian life," he added.
American Heroes Return is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
The organization's America Supports You affiliation is helping bridge the gap between its efforts to support both active-duty servicemembers and veterans, Orndorff said.
"I'm finding that my own review of other [America Supports You-affiliated] organizations ... is leading me to begin thinking about ways to network and partner," he added. "There may be portions of programs that we had intended to establish on our own that we can better accomplish by partnering with a group already accomplishing that task."