Housing for vets raises
Fear, misconceptions raise concerns about
transitional housing for vets with PTSD
Associated Press Writer AP
Updated: 1:59 PM ET Mar 19, 2008
Merry Lane, a cul-de-sac shaded by redwoods in Sonoma County wine country, would seem a pleasant
place to recover from the psychic wounds of war. Nadia McCaffrey's dream is to set up a group home
there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder.
But she is running into stiff resistance from the neighbors. They not only object to the brand-new
structure itself, which looks like a four-story apartment house wedged amid their cabins, they are also
worried that deranged veterans will move in.
At a community meeting in December, "one person was concerned that even firecrackers would set
these people off," said Andrew Eckers, 54, who lives across the street.
McCaffrey, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, said she has tried to reassure the neighbors, but "they
are afraid of it because they don't want to understand it."
Projects similar to McCaffrey's have cropped up in other communities across the country, with some also
raising concerns from neighbors, in part because of the many news accounts of traumatized veterans
committing suicide or murder.
"We're all, frankly, failing in properly educating society about what PTSD is and what its effects are," said
Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org, a veterans advocacy group.
McCaffrey wants to set up at least three group homes around the country where vets with PTSD could
live temporarily, and virtually for free, while they study at a college or work at a farm. Donations are
paying for the projects, she said.
In Guerneville, a community of about 2,500 where the Russian River draws tourists in the summer, the
light green building nestled into a carved-out hillside stands empty.
The county issued a stop-work order because the project exceeded the scope of the plans that were
filed, said Shems Peterson, Sonoma County supervising building inspector. Among other things, the
project had unauthorized plumbing. Also, a wall meant to divert landslides was deemed insufficient.
Neighbors have raised complaints about the cutting down of several redwoods to make way for the
home, the lack of parking and the size of the building, which would house a half-dozen veterans.
"They are inappropriate buildings for the neighborhood. They're not single-family residences," said Mark
Mondragon, 41. "This could have been Grandmothers for Harmonious Peace and it wouldn't have made
Jan De Wald, who lives a couple houses down Merry Lane, said too many questions remain unanswered
about the project, including who sits on the board, who is the president and what is the staffing.
Most residents said worries about unhinged veterans are not driving the opposition. Eckers emphasized
that his primary concern is that the project would open the door to more apartment buildings. But he also
raised questions about the screening and supervision of the veterans.
"Generally PTSD guys are normal people," Eckers said. But he added: "Some are shell-shocked and
they need to be in an institution."
McCaffrey said screening would be done by veterans and a psychiatrist, and supervision would come
from volunteers from a nearby veterans clinic.
"We will not accept anyone who's not completely functional," she said.
Rogelio Martinez, 26, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Airborne Ranger, said he was
diagnosed with PTSD and sought counseling at the urging of his older brother, a military officer. But he
said he would have benefited from the type of group housing that McCaffrey is proposing.
"If it wasn't for my brother, I might be one of those homeless vets on the street," Martinez said in a
telephone interview from San Antonio. "A place like that would be ideal for a person like me or a person
in my shoes who didn't have someone to lean on like an older brother to get help."
I just read thee article on AP news about the complex in California being
protested against, for lack of a better term.
I feel what you are doing is a true blessing for our soldiers who so freely
give their lives for our country. I find nothing more disgusting than a group
of people who feel these men, and women are good enough for defending
our country at any cost, yet they don’t want to deal with the after affects.
My husband was in special forces fifth group for many years, and has
dealt with PTSD for all of those years. It is truly a horrific trauma for these
veterans who have given so much, and asked for so little!!!!
We, as a family want you to know we offer our support in any way. I
recently found out I am terminal, however, I am hoping I have some good
time left in me, and what I do, I offer in any way I can!!!!!
Please feel free to post my email,
Thank you for all your work.
|WELCOME TO GUERNEVILLE ?
"DO GOOD ANYWAY"
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and
some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
|IN RESPECTFUL MEMORY OF JACOB WEISSMANN
|Please Read the article below about the Guerneville's project
Written by Scott Lindlaw
Reporter at the ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sadly, the Guerneville Building has been "Red Tagged" and is now "OFF LIMITS"
THE GUERNEVILLE PROJECT HAS BEEN CANCELED AFTER
Mr. JACOB WEISSEMAN HAD PASSED AWAY
|© 2007-2014, Nadia McCaffrey, the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation & the villages, all rights reserved ©
Formed in 2006-2007, the organization is a peace based organization for
members of the military who have served in the war, we are focusing on the Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts, however, this foundation is to help all war veterans . We believe the
best way to support our troops is to bring them home now and take care of them when they get here.
OPERATION ADOPT A SOLDIER TODAY
Open your Arms and Your Heart
Help a young veteran to embrace life again
Show that you care, give your support
They are our children and need us Now
They don't have to walk alone
We are their family, we are responsible
Together we can make a difference
With love, tolerance, patience and understanding
We will rock this Nation to care for a better tomorrow
Guerneville House will Have 8
Veterans for long or short term
(Unfortunately, the building does not
have wheel chair access)
The goal of Guerneville VEVA is to
help facilitate on-the-job training,
college education, and employment
A van will have access from the
house to where ever needed for the
convenience of our guests including
VA Hospital, classes, work, etc.
A Manager will run the House
Nadia McCaffrey will live there most of
A Special Thank You to so
who have volunteered to help
with the Guerneville Project...
Therapists, Rn's, Holistic Medicine
Practitioners, Md's, Attorneys...