LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It's been a dream stored in the back of Jeremy Harrell’s mind for years.
“It’s just amazing what these folks are going to have to live in,” Harrell said.
But this rendering of Camp Restoration, a planned home for homeless veterans, proves it's no longer just a dream.
“I want them to feel like this is home," he said. "I want them to be proud."
Harrell, a former combat veteran and founder of Veteran's Club, recalled that when he first saw the rendering for the camp, he had tears in his eyes.
“We want to be in the trenches with these folks because our motto is doing life together,” Harrell said. “They just feel like they're worthless, those are the words that are said to me: ‘Jeremy we don't have worth. We're just kind of existing. Nobody knows about us. We're just a number somewhere on some report.’”
Harrell wants them to feel their worth once again.
“We believe these folks can go out and do something great for this community. It’s an investment into people who want to serve and regain their lives,” he said.
Each grouping of homes will be centered around a circular patio with a pergola. Two will have a fountain or fire pit an the center, the third will have a playground for veterans who have a family with kids.
The rendering also shows a chapel, reflecting ponds, a community center, rooftop gardens and office space that can be used by doctors, barbers and even cooking classes.
“So we'll have a commercial kitchen where they can learn how to create a meal on a budget,” Harrell said.
Harrell said such resources will remove barriers that keep homeless veterans from succeeding.
Harrell said he has applied for grants to help fund the 3.5 million dollar project with more than 25 homes, but he also needs help from the community and more business partners. He said a donation to the project could be the best way to tell a homeless veteran, “Thank you for your service.”
“They sign up to give their life potentially," Harrell said. "... They gave to people they didn't know. They were willing to die for people's way of life, who may or may not even agree with them, but they were willing to do that because it was bigger than them.
"So I ask and challenge them the same way: Do something bigger than you," he asked. "You may never meet them, but it doesn't matter. Do something that we can show honor and thanks."
Groundbreaking on the project in southwest Louisville near Dixie Highway and Stuart Avenue is expected after the new year.
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