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Helping the Severely Wounded Learn How to Dream Again
Date:2/27/2008

ity to build for the future on their terms.

The Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center in Gardner, MA, is in Phase I of construction. When it is completed, the facility will offer a temporary home for up to 40 wounded veterans - and their families - who are learning to turn extreme adversity into opportunity. And they won't have to go it alone.

"These veterans are going to need a lot of support, everything from learning how to overcome their disabilities to physical and occupational therapies. And just as important, we'll be helping them rebuild their lives from the inside out. There is no prosthesis for the human spirit," said the project's founder, Leslie Lightfoot, CEO of Veteran Homestead, Inc., in nearby Fitchburg. "But their families need to be involved as well, and they'll need a lot of support, too. That's one of the things that will make this center unique and ensure its success."

Lightfoot created the nation's first hospice program for homeless veterans, the first agricultural therapeutic residence program for veterans with mental illness, the first homeless veteran residence in Puerto Rico, and several veteran assistance programs in Massachusetts.

The Center will be located on 10 scenic acres of land donated by Mount Wachusett Community College, a partnership that promises much more than property.

The college will provide physical therapy, occupational therapy and lifeskills training interns for veteran clients, along with educational opportunities to help them prepare for and launch their careers. Center clients will have access to amenities that will facilitate recreational skills development and promote leisure activities that can be shared with family members.

Directly across the street from the Center, Henry Heywood Hospital will welcome resident veterans into its physical, occupational and speech therapy departments. General medical services, including emergency room treatment, will
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SOURCE National Coalition For Homeless Veterans
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