A big part of the mission of the Warner Robins Disabled American Veterans is to help homeless veterans, but the group itself has essentially been homeless for many years.
Different organizations have given them office space, but sooner or later those groups have ended up needing the space and they have had to relocate. Most recently they have been paying rent on a space at the old Houston Mall.
Thanks to a donation, the group now finally has a place of its own.
Dr. James Whitaker, the county medical examiner, offered the group a double-wide he used for storage. The American Legion post on Watson Boulevard agreed to let the DAV put the trailer there for a nominal lease fee.
The double-wide is in good shape, and many members of the DAV belong to the American Legion as well, so DAV leaders believe they now have a place they can call their own.
“This is where we will be for a while,” said Rick Newman, the chapter commander. “There is no reason to move. The price is right.”
With trained volunteers, the DAV helps vets with the complicated process of filing for benefits.
“We help all veterans, not just disabled veterans,” said Burl Jimmerson, the state DAV commander, who lives in Warner Robins and was helping with the move last week.
The Warner Robins chapter is one of the few in the state without a building where it can have social events to raise money. It relies solely on member dues and donations.
And if anyone has any inclination to help the group, now would be a good time. The double-wide is valued at $20,000, so it’s a much-appreciated donation, the two men said. But it cost them $8,000 to move it, set it up and bring it up to code.
That pretty much emptied out the chapter’s coffers. They will ultimately save a bundle on rent and other expenses, but for the moment it has created a bit of a cash-flow problem.
“We desperately need donations,” Newman said.
Many people, they said, have donated services to help with the move, including a man who is building a wheelchair ramp for the building. An electrician and other others have also donated services.
Another benefit of the new location is that it will be much more visible and easier to find. They have already put a large sign on the building that can be seen easily from Watson.
The office is on Watson Boulevard across from Burger King, but the official address is 1345 Radio Loop. The hours are noon to 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.