Indiana retreat center opens to veterans and first responders - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Hero Reward retreat center opens to veterans and first responders

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---A new retreat center opened Saturday in Southern Indiana, which many believe will have a lasting impact on the community.

One of the people on hand for the event was Matthew Brooks, an Elizabethtown youth pastor.

In the 13 years Brooks served our nation, he deployed 5 times.

"It was a lot of high-stress situations but you learn to love your country. You do whatever you can to defend it," says Matthew Brooks.

He injured his back in Afghanistan, and returned home to his loved ones to recover. 

"That all takes a toll on not only me but the family. Shortly before Christmas this past year, our home was broken into, like we didn't have enough on our plate, and someone turned us to the Hero Reward Program", says Matthew Brooks.

The non-profit organization called Hero Reward, which recently broke ground on its 2nd retreat center in April, unveiled the finished product on Saturday.  

"It's amazing to see that there's that many people we can reach that care. To be out on such a beautiful day, we feel blessed," says Rodney Bruce, founder of Hero Reward.

Ford, UAW and local volunteers helped to make the handicap accessible facility a reality in Corydon.

"They really forfeited and sacrificed a lot for their nation and this is a real opportunity for them to come here and regroup," says Platoon Sergeant Damon McClure with the Warrior Transition Battalion.

It's not only soldiers, veterans, and first responders who understand why a place like this is so important. It's also mothers, like Linda Wright-Dennis, whose son Christopher didn't survive the war.

"Our lives have been forever changed by the service and sacrifice of my son," says Linda Wright-Dennis.

She says this is a place families will be able to reunite with their loved ones as they get back on their feet again, physically and mentally.

"If a place like this would give us an opportunity to gather together to reconnect, to share,to remember, to heal," says Linda Wright-Dennis.

It's something Matthew Brooks says, has forever changed his life.

"They need things like this, because you can't take someone from an environment like that, being shot at, being blown up, seeing deceased and put them back in a regular community and expect that they'll co-exist evenly," says Matthew Brooks.

Hero Reward offers services to veterans and first responders free of charge.

For more information, click here.

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