|“The future of our
Armed Services and
the future of this
country will be
with how we take
care of our Veterans”
|IN THE MEDIA
From the Sauk Centre Herald - May 19, 2009
Gold Star moms push on for Sauk Centre facility
By Bryan Zollman
More than 150 people showed up to support the VVillage Project in Sauk Centre
But it was the Gold Star Mothers, most notably Nadia McCaffrey, who continue to
be the force behind turning the former home school into a sanctuary for veterans
and their families.
McCaffrey, whose son was killed by an Iraqi soldier he was training in 2004, has
been on a crusade to help veterans since seeing how many of her son’s friends
came home after the war and had trouble transitioning back into society. She
formed the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation and founded Veterans Village, an
organization that provides transitional housing for veterans.
The Village Project is on a much larger scale, and leaders are saying it would
serve as the national headquarters for Veterans Village.
Saturday’s event kicked off with a silent auction as leaders are trying to raise
support locally to help fund lobbying efforts to secure funding to make the
project a reality. Locally, Mike Weisser, a Vietnam veteran who resides in Sauk
Centre, is leading the project and was named the vice president of the McCaffrey
Foundation on Saturday. “The American Soldier puts his life on the line so we
can live and work in a free society,” Weisser said. “The Gold Star Mothers that
attended gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country and are totally behind this
project. Lets show them we also share in their loss buy supporting something
they believe in — VVillage.”
McCaffrey was joined by other Gold Star Mothers Saturday, most notably Mary
Tillman, whose son, Pat, was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Pat Tillman turned
down a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers
after 9/11. Tillman said she was at Saturday’s event to lend her support for the
project. “I want to try and do something positive,” she said. “And this is such a
Becky Lourey, a former state senator who lost her son Matt in the war, was also
on hand, lending her support. “This is a place for ones’s soul to rest while the
heart suffers,” she said.
Lourey also urged everyone to contact U.S. Representative Collin Peterson to
get him behind the project.
But it’s been McCaffrey who has been at the forefront of the project after she was
initially notified of the possibilities by Sauk Centre resident Alice Karakas.
McCaffrey spoke to the crowd of supporters for about 15 minutes Saturday,
telling her story and why such a facility is needed.
“Reaching out to veterans is what I have been trying to do since my son’s
death,” she said. “We have a tsunami of people returning from war. More wounds
will need to be patched and this beautiful place right here is the perfect place. We
need to make it happen.”
The property is currently for sale by private owner Jim Jauss for $3.5 million.
|Gold Star Mothers
Becky Lourey, Nadia McCaffrey and Mary Tillman
Sauk Centre Herald May 19,2009
Mayor Kirckof says city supports project
By Bryan Zollman
The reason for Saturday’s VVillage fundraiser was to gain local support. And Mayor Brad
Kirckof said the City of Sauk Centre is behind the project.
Kirckof said the city will be meeting with the developers of the proposed plan in the coming
weeks to see what, if any, resources are going to be required by the city. “The opportunity
this plan brings to the Sauk Centre community in jobs and housing will not come without
some cost,” he said.
It has been estimated that the village could create more than 100 jobs locally. When the
campus was run as a home school, it employed more than 90 people. “I think the proposed
plan for this property would be a great asset to the community,” Kirckof said. “It’s apparent
the city would benefit greatly.”
Because the village would be a non-profit, it would be taken off the tax roll, but Kirckof said
the difference would more than be made up in lieu of the jobs and possible residential growth.
As the project moves ahead, he said the city will need to evaluate the project closer and that
the Economic Development Authority may work with the developers to assist if possible.
Bob Douvier, President of the EDA, said the EDA board discussed the project at its last
“We’re open to listening to whatever their needs are and will do whatever we can,” he said.
Kirckof said he spoke with owner Jim Jauss and the developers of the project and that they
plan to meet with city staff and hold informational meetings for the public.
Kirckof touched on the campus as being an integral part of the community for 100 years. In
1909 the building was given the go ahead by the state and it was built in 1911. The state
closed the facility in 2000 and tried to sell the property to the city of Sauk Centre, but it was
too expensive. Jauss purchased the property and opened a correctional facility but wasn’t
able to make it profitable.
“This facility has been part of our community for nearly 100 years and during this time has
created stability and opportunity to many people,” Kirckof said. “I believe the mission of the
VVillage in Sauk Centre will again create opportunities. This time it’s opportunities for
veterans both old and young alike.”
|Casualty Mom' Helping Vets
(Interview with the AP)
By BRIGID BRETT, San Diego, Ca
For the North County Times | Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 12:00 am |
Although Chaplain Fred Tittle left Vietnam in 1970, he only filed for compensation from the Veterans
Administration in 2003.
"I never considered filing a claim; as a matter of fact, it was filed for me ... I'm not sure if I ever would
have unless prompted by someone else, another combat veteran. This is one of the reasons I do the
work that I do with injured veterans; I know how difficult it is to ask for help."
Tittle is a former combat-disabled Marine who is working as chaplain at Moffett Field, located near
Sunnyvale, with combat-disabled veterans as well as active duty members. Most of the injured have
traumatic brain injury and PTSD.
The last time I talked to him, he had just helped an Iraq veteran and his family who were living in a
homeless shelter find "a more suitable, calm place to stay and get them connected with help and
resources." The couple have a young daughter ,and the wife was about to give birth at any moment.
On a given day, Tittle will drive a soldier to her doctor's appointment, defuse a potentially violent
altercation with the police and help a confused and frustrated veteran fill out his mountain of forms so
he can get his disability compensation. He does not get paid for any of this.
John Keith, an Iraq veteran, was at the lowest point of his life when he e-mailed Nadia McCaffrey last
year. McCaffrey's son, Patrick, was killed in Iraq in 2004, and she has since become an advocate and
"kind of a mom" to many young veterans who have been flailing, utterly alone and desperate in the
months and years after serving their country.
In physical and emotional pain, Keith felt like he couldn't keep trying to get his benefits, trying to deal
with the VA, trying to find medications that wouldn't make him have black-outs. It was through
McCaffrey's emotional support and practical guidance that he was able to regain his strength and start
advocating for himself ---- and others. McCaffrey does not get paid for saving and rebuilding lives.
Mary Ellen Salzano started the California Statewide Collaborative for Our Military and Families because
she saw the need to save lives by not only connecting the dots, but connecting the humans. She
spends most of her waking hours helping people who are struggling with a myriad of issues and a
sense of deep desperation, to get in touch with people who might be able to help them. She does not
The VA has seen a 26 percent increase in suicides, mostly among 18- to 29-year-old veterans who
served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's time to create a new kind of work force ---- of paid advocates.
BRIGID BRETT writes from Valley Center. Contact her at email@example.com.
Posted in Brett on Friday, January 22, 2010 12:00 am | Tags: Brigid Brett, Columns, Nct, Opinion