FIDDLER’S GREEN DIRECTOR ERIC MOTZ is shown in front of a wall where he has painted some representations of military camaraderie in the new veteran housing community in Corunna.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
In December 2019, it was announced that a purchase agreement with Fiddler’s Green LLC had been reached in the sale of the former Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility, which is located at 729 S. Norton St. in Corunna. The 63,177-square-foot property, purchased by the nonprofit organization, has now been converted into a veteran housing community – truly a home – though some delays in construction did occur due to the ongoing pandemic. At one point, the organization had planned on a mid-2020 opening. However, an open house event took place on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26, and the public was invited to attend, though mask wearing was strongly encouraged.
Fiddler’s Green operates another independent living facility for veterans in Bad Axe. The nonprofit group, now with two locations, is described as “a veteran only living community,” with a directive to honor veterans.
These homes for veterans are the life mission of Director Eric Motz, himself an impassioned veteran with 15 years of service, including seven combat tours – his last tour in Afghanistan ended with his vehicle being blown up. He was the only survivor. “Pretty much, I came home, I hugged my son and realized what was most important in my life,” he shared. “He’s my heart and soul. I then got my degree in community development.”
From that point, after contending with two Marine suicide affiliations, Motz came to recognize the needs of hundreds of homeless or near homeless Michigan veterans, unable to get the support or benefits they deserve. Motz was inspired to offer better – to not only provide quality housing for those who have been in service, but also to help in the transitional process, whether short or long-term, by reconnecting veterans to critical resources and benefits.
“When you’re in the service, you’re given a mission, from point A to Point B,” he described. “It’s structured.” Yet, when many veterans return home, the system is difficult so transitioning to civilian life is complicated. The needed structure is not necessarily readily available.
“All this, this is my heart, my soul, my blood, my sweat, my tears, to transform this from a nursing home into what it is now,” Motz explained about the new Corunna veteran housing community.
Officially, the community began housing veterans on Wednesday, Sept. 30, and part of the process is to include a mission along with the housing, so some of the veterans will be offered an on-site job or project to work on.
“It’s my watch now, and to Hell if I’ll let any one of them fall through the cracks,” he said. Veterans of all age categories and all backgrounds are welcome. Pets are also permitted.
So what is life like inside Fiddler’s Green? Housing includes daily meals, use of modern laundry facilities, cable/internet, transportation, planned social activities, personalized care and case management opportunities and more. The previous medical care facility has been transitioned into a receptive, warm housing situation, including such amenities as a cozy living room, an airy dining room, a fenced-in pet area, and pleasantly designed bedroom and bathroom situations – and lots of windows.
As stated on the website at www.fiddlergreenllc.com, “Fiddler’s Green is not solely a home. We are a veteran-owned and –operated service that provides other veterans the support to stand again, to talk with others who have walked in their boots, and be able to access the resources necessary to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Motz described the reason behind the name, Fiddler’s Green and it’s connection to a type of afterlife or meeting place for soldiers. Please see the poem on page 12 for more details.
For further information or to schedule a tour of the Corunna site, call (989) 975-6888.