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In front from left, Bob Opthof, president of the Cumberland Plateau Chapter 1015 Vietnam Veterans of America; Keith Seitzer, treasurer; Ralph Reagan, director of Bread of Life Rescue Mission; George Essenburg of Chapter 1015; and back row, Jim Ernst, vice president of Chapter 1015 and Connie Reagan of Bread of Life Rescue Mission. Chapter 1015 Vietnam Veterans of America presented Bread of Life Rescue Mission with a $2,815 donation for the homeless veterans house on Fourth St.

The Cumberland Plateau Chapter 1015 Vietnam Veterans of America recently raised and donated $2,815 to the Bread of Life Rescue Mission for use in the rehab and construction project of a transitional homeless veterans house.

“We’re glad we’re able to help with the project and help veterans get the help they need,” Bob Opthof, president of Chapter 1015, said.

Ralph Reagan, director of the Bread of Life Rescue Mission, said the agency is working to help solve the problem some veterans have transitioning into stable housing after returning from service or having legal issues after being released.

Reagan said a lot of veterans who come back from serving have post-traumatic stress disorder, and it’s difficult for them to resume a normal life.

“If they’re on the streets, it’s really hard for them to get housing,” he said.

The Bread of Life has worked with volunteers for months to renovate and rehab a house on Fourth St. next door to the mission. 

Reagan said volunteers from many area churches have donated their time, materials and talents to the project. It will offer shelter for veterans transitioning from the streets to stable housing, as well as those coming out of treatment or judicial programs. 

“We appreciate all the volunteers and those who support our mission. With this, we’ll be helping veterans transition to a new life,” Reagan said.

The home will offer space for anywhere from eight to 10 veterans while they await permanent accommodations through veterans service and housing agencies.

Reagan explained whenever a homeless veteran comes through the justice program, Criminal Court Judge Gary MacKenzie or 13th Judicial District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway will refer them to Bread of Life. The group will work with them until the veterans agency gets them housing.

“We have the majority of the equipment and supplies to finish, and we are waiting for the installers to come in and install the new cabinets and other fixtures,” Reagan said.

Reagan said the home should be completed within the next couple of months.

Gary Nelson may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

Crossville Chronicle senior staff writer