|FIRST HALL TO BE OPEN IN SUMMER 2009
Gold Star moms push on for
Sauk Centre facility
More than 150 people showed up to support
the Valley Forge Village Project in Sauk
Centre Saturday. But it was the Gold Star
Mothers, most notably Nadia McCaffrey, who
continue to be the force behind turning the
former home school into a sanctuary for
veterans and their families. McCaffrey, whose
son was killed by an Iraqi soldier he was
training in 2004, has been on a crusade to
help veterans since seeing how many of her
son's friends came home after the war and
had trouble transitioning back into society.
She formed the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation
and founded Veterans Village, an
organization that provides transitional
housing for veterans.
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|<<< Forging ahead
Gold Star Mothers, from left, Becky
Lourey, Nadia McCaffrey and Mary
Tillman. All three lost their sons in the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All three
were on hand Saturday to support the
Valley Forge Village Project in Sauk
HERALD PHOTO BY BRYAN
|From left to right:
Michael O'Gorman, Becky Lourey, Mary Tillman and Chuck Anderson
VetsVillage Of Minnesota
The concept will evolve around Veterans helping Veterans. Although the facility will be staffed by
highly trained professionals, a positive peer culture (PPC) form of therapy will be employed. Each
cottage will have a director (Veterans receive preference) that is responsible for program
Each cottage will have approximately 20 residents. Each resident will have a sponsor "buddy."
The two buddies are primarily responsible for each other's well-being ascertaining that each are
progressing toward wellness and are keeping engaged in all aspects of training and healing. As a
new resident enters the cottage, a seasoned "buddy" is assigned as a primary care giver. Daily
routine will evolve around spiritual needs, family counseling, work, group therapy, private
counseling, recreation, physical fitness, wellness training, school and drug/alcohol counseling.
Each cottage shall be responsible for exterior building and grounds maintenance and each shall
be responsible for one plot of organic grown vegetables, which will provide food throughout the
year for the facility. Excess produce will be sold at the on-site store or to other outside vendors. It
is anticipated that stays will vary from two (2) to nine (9) months.
In additional to trained staff, Veterans' Village will have a core of community and veteran
volunteers. Ancillary services will be provided by the Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Cloud.
Internship opportunities will be provided through the Behavioral Psychology Department at St.
Cloud State University.
Families will have option of staying off campus or at the on campus Bed and Breakfast for a
nominal rate. Also, on-site camping, trailers and motorized RV's shall be allowed to dry camp on
The primary focus will be on reintegration to family and society in general, family counseling, job
training, as well as a retreat for rest and relaxation. Each Veteran will be evaluated by social
workers and trained staff to determine whether the program will benefit the Veteran on an
individual basis. The Village will provide services for both men and women who will be housed in
separate cottages. Because of the unique circumstances of each conflict the Veteran has been
involved in, Veterans will be assigned to a cottage depending on which war/conflict he or she was
engaged in, thereby strengthening and focusing support services for the individual Veteran.
Vocational and job training will be in the areas of Postal work, shipping and receiving, restaurant
management, short order cooking, manufacturing, retail management, farming practice, wood
working, horticulture and printing. Expanded training in other areas will be available at nearby
community colleges as well as expanded training on the Veterans' Village campus as time goes
It will be the responsibility of the Social Worker and the cottage director to determine when the
Veteran is capable of independent living or return to family life. However, the program is voluntary
and no person shall be required to stay any longer than he or she wishes.