Saturday, March 10th there will be an open house for the new Veterans Hope Project building. Veterans Hope is a non-profit organization that provides classes and help for veterans. The founder of Veterans Hope Project is Michael Little. Little is a war veteran himself and wanted to find a way that he could help give back to other veterans. “I was a combat vet. I have seen heavy combat. I was there in 2003 and fought my way from Kuwait, Baghdad, Mosul and even into Turkey. I was infruntry, so I understand.” Little continued, “Veterans Hope Project was started to help combat the 22 veteran suicides a day. It’s an epidemic that is not acceptable. I put a lot of thought into what could be done to help.” Little asked many of his fellow veterans what would be things that could help them and what would make their lives easier; he got back a lot of options. Some of the many options were classes on hands on activities. Little decided since he could not do all of the ideas he would focus on three of them that were suggested; woodworking, auto repair and sewing.
Currently the main focus is to get their building up and running. The building will provide room for the automotive and woodworking classes they want to have. Also there is a lounge area where veterans are welcome to have a seat and visit with those who have similar experiences. “It’s just a spot where they can come and drink coffee. They don't have to be taking part in any of the classes. They can just sit and fellowship with other veterans that understand what they have been through, understand what the problems are and they can just talk.” In the future the organization has the goal to provide a full time certified counselor to be available when and if someone needed it. Little shared that they don't have the equipment and space needed to do the sewing classes at this time, but they hope to have the woodworking and mechanic classes up and going soon.
There are many in the community that have already helped this project get off the ground and Veterans Hope would like to thank them for their generosity. First and foremost Eric Towner with Towner Plumbing who has generously provided the building, People's furniture for providing furniture for their lounge area, Western Timber who has donated lumber, Weiser Classic Candy, BI-Mart and all the other community members who have donated their time talent or money.
Veterans Hope wants to be open as much as they can. At the present they do not have enough volunteers to keep it open as long as they would like. Another goal would be to eventually have a staff that would be there consistent hours. Volunteers are something that the organization is in need of. “We need a whole lot more. My concern is I have good days and bad days. If it’s a bad day I’d like to have someone who could be here if I am unable. The day I have a bad day could be the day we need to reach a vet. My concern if we dont we could not save a life and that is our primary goal, to save lives.” Volunteers for teaching classes and especially someone knowledgeable in grant writing are needed as well. Funding is limited and the program would benefit greatly from grants that would provide monies that could help the organization and even help them expand across the United States.
The grand opening is Saturday, March 10th at 10am. Veterans Hope is located downtown at 26 E. Commercial Street. There will be booths and food across the street and the public is welcome to come down and see what Veterans Hope is trying to do, ask questions, check out the facility and speak with Little. All proceeds will benefit Veterans Hope Project. You can visit their Facebook page or contact Mike Little at 208-250-5046.“I want to give back as much as I can. The way I look at this is, if I do this for twenty or thirty years and only save one veteran, it’s worth every single second.”