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Vets supporting vets

From left, Justin Roy, Stuart Spotts, Zay Curtis, Bill Morris, David Aldrich and Bob Marvin present a check for $5,000 to Homeward Bound Adirondacks from the American Legion Post 326 in Lake Placid. (Photo provided)

Thanks to the generous donations Homeward Bound Adirondacks has received, it is able to expand its services to reach more veterans in the North Country community.

With the help of charitable donors across the community, on June 1 Homeward Bound Adirondacks purchased 105 acres of wilderness land in the Adirondacks, on which it plans to build a retreat center to continue its mission of accommodating veterans in need. The organization is currently in the beginning stages of setting up a capital campaign to assist in completing the goals of the program. Plans for the new property that are being set in motion include building design, water supply, septic systems and electricity. HBA will continue to operate at its current location in Onchiota, at the Sgt. Carlton A. Clark Memorial Veteran’s Camp, until November of this year.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Homeward Bound Adirondacks retreat center will be held on July 10 from noon to 3 p.m. at 12801 state Route 30, Malone.

The critical work of HBA was highlighted in the excellent article in the December 2020 issue of Adirondack Life magazine, written by Brian Castner, a combat veteran and renowned author. Homeward Bound Adirondacks is a small yet wide-reaching organization that serves the veteran community of northern New York. HBA is proudly a volunteer-run group, with almost all of these volunteers being veterans. Homeward Bound Adirondacks is a 501(c) not-for-profit and is proud that over 95% of the money donated goes directly to veteran programs and retreats. Overhead for these donations is less than 3%. There is a growing need for organizations such as HBA and other like-minded groups in the crucial effort to build knowledge and capacity to more actively support veteran reintegration with civilian life, an effort that Homeward Bound Adirondacks is proud to be involved in.

The healing retreats hosted by HBA have a long history of success. Recently, it hosted a spring retreat in Onchiota that hosted eight local veterans at no cost to the participants. This valuable retreat offered events such as hiking, canoeing and mindfulness activities. Additionally, a retreat serving 20 veterans from the New York City Samaritan program was hosted from June 4 to 6. These retreats are consistently well received by their participants, some veterans claiming that the weekends were “life-changing experiences.”

Angie-Marie Farr of the Saranac American Legion Auxiliary Post 1618 presents Homeward Bound Adirondacks administrator Valerie Ainsworth a check for $500. (Photo provided)

In addition to the healing retreats being held at the Sgt. Carlton A. Clark Memorial Veterans Camp in Onchiota, HBA continues to promote awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention and Veterans Courts in the North Country. There is also continued work being done toward Homeward Bound’s grant with New York state in promoting Veterans Court. They provide free medical and mental health transportation, crisis outreach and case management at the veterans drop-in center at 24 Depot St. in Saranac Lake. Homeward Bound Adirondacks would like to thank you so much for your continued support in their vital work of assisting veterans and mitigating the effects of combat on returning soldiers. Feel free to visit their website for upcoming events: www.HomewardBoundAdirondacks.org.

If you would like to support Homeward Bound Adirondacks and the veteran services they provide, you can make a contribution to Homeward Bound Adirondacks, P.O. Box 1100, Saranac Lake, NY 12983, or visit www.HomewardBoundAdirondacks.org.

Sophia Morelli lives in Lake Placid.

James A. Terry presents Homeward Bound Adirondacks administrator Valerie Ainsworth with two checks, one from American Legion Post 1618 in Saranac and one from Clinton County American Legion, each for $1,000. (Photo provided)

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