Sunday – September 14, 2014
Giving Back to Those Who Have Given So Much Read about it on the How to Help Page.
Homes for Heroes
During my lifetime, there have been four wars in which our beloved nation has been involved. The largest, World War II, and the longest, the Iraq-Afghanistan War.
Orangetown played a major role in WW II as host to the 2,000 + acre "Camp Shanks," the largest Port of Embarkation on the East Coast for our GIs leaving "Last Stop USA" to fight the Nazis in Europe and providing Veteran [GI] housing after the war. Tragically, so many of those very young men who left Orangetown died on D-Day and in the fierce battles that followed and were buried in France or returned home in flag draped coffins.
Now, 70 years later, the remaining 14 acres of Camp Shanks can be a welcoming home for the Veterans who did and will return damaged and wounded in mind and body and spirit from our longest war. Yes, we can and will make a home for just a very few of those who make up over 20% of our homeless and we will call it "Homes For Heroes". And may it stand as a living memorial to our brave wounded warriors.
A joint venture between Joseph’s Home, Inc. and Rockland Housing Action Coalition, Inc., Homes for Heroes, Inc., has commenced construction on Phase 1 of the Homes for Heroes project. Though we are starting with eight units, our vision is to reclaim this vacant land and over time to create up to 52 garden-style apartment homes for our wounded warriors, our disabled and displaced veterans, and their spouses and children. Serving veterans is only in keeping with the historic and proud military tradition of the land. It was from here that more than 1.3 million GIs left to fight the Nazis in Europe. Many never returned. Many returned in flag draped coffins. Most of the GIs killed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day left from this land. That is why we think this last parcel of Camp Shanks should remain forever as a living memorial to all those brave soldiers who fought to protect our great country. Phase 1 will feature the creation of eight-garden style apartment homes along the Western Highway corridor. The first phase of the project will replace the dilapidated barrack style building that you can see from Western Highway with two attractive buildings which will complement the single-family homes in the neighborhood.
This is truly a community effort, one that can only succeed when we all join together to help those that stood in harms way to protect all of us. We need your support, your time, your effort - just as we all needed theirs, so please explore the site and find a way you can help. It could be a donation of money or goods, or just knowledgeable support that you kindly pass along to others in our community. Please help us help our heroes.
Rockland County Legislator John A. Murphy