VA Secretary Wilkie speaks at VLC Opening - VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network
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VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network

 

VA Secretary Wilkie speaks at VLC Opening

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie addresses a gathering of community partners and government officials during the grand opening of the Veterans Life Center, a comprehensive, residential rehabilitation center for transitioning Veterans in Butner, N.C. August 1. (photo by Stephen R. Wilkins)

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie addresses a gathering of community partners and government officials during the grand opening of the Veterans Life Center, a comprehensive, residential rehabilitation center for transitioning Veterans in Butner, N.C. August 1. (photo by Stephen R. Wilkins)

By Stephen Wilkins, VISN 6 public affairs
Friday, August 7, 2020

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie,  joined August 1 by VA Acting Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs Brooks Tucker, with dignitaries representing local, state and federal government offices, and community partners gathered to celebrate the opening of a first-of-its kind facility designed to help transitioning Veterans in North Carolina.

Wilkie and Tucker were among guests attending the grand opening of the Veterans Life Center of North Carolina (VLC), in Butner, N.C.  The center, a 100+ bed residential facility is the brainchild of U.S. Coast Guard and Army Veteran John Turner, who Wilkie declared, “the visionary who said never again” [will our country fall short] of serving our Veterans.  

 

 

photo of Honored guests celebrati the grand opening of the North Carolina Veterans Life Center (VLC) in Butner, N.C. August 1.  (L-R) VLC Exec. Dir., Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry (USMC, Ret.), Butner, N.C. Mayor Terry Turner, N.C. Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland, VLC Founder John Turner, Hon. Mari

Honored guests celebrate the grand opening of the North Carolina Veterans Life Center (VLC) in Butner, N.C. August 1. (L-R) VLC Exec. Dir., Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry (USMC, Ret.), Butner, N.C. Mayor Terry Turner, N.C. Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland, VLC Founder John Turner, Hon. Marilyn Avila, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Col. David Hayden (USA, Ret.) (Photo by Stephen R. Wilkins)

The VLC’s mission is to improve the lives of 21st Century North Carolina Veterans who are experiencing reintegration problems by providing temporary housing and services with the goal of achieving self-reliance in two years or less.

According to outgoing VLC board president, U.S. Army Col. (ret.) David Hayden, the center offers at-risk transitioning Veterans coordination of therapeutic, counseling and educational services tailored to individual needs, “to enable them to find a constructive, personally satisfying place in civil society.”

 

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie taking time to greet guests following the Veterans Life Center (VLC) opening ceremony in Butner, N.C. August 1.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie takes time to greet guests following the Veterans Life Center (VLC) opening ceremony in Butner, N.C. August 1.

The ceremony, attended by masked, social-distancing guests was also live-streamed. Acknowledging that North Carolinians understood and respected the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families, who, just like his own family, deal with the wounds of war, Secretary Wilkie observed that Turner, an Iraq war Veteran who saw a need to help Veterans and brought thousands together to support his vision and solve the problem, “is a manifestation of all we are proud of in North Carolina.”

Hayden recalled, upon the Secretary’s first visit to the site, not long ago, it was not much more than a slab of concrete.  With a nod to naysayers along the way, who Turner claimed only served to strengthen their resolve for completion, Hayden said, “Well Mr. Secretary, we did it!”  

More information on the Veterans Life Center can be found on the web site at: https://vlcnc.org/.

 

 

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