WELCOME HOME Veterans (WHV) President Kim Bowen (center) and WHV Board of Directors members Brent Singer and Brooke Bowen enjoyed each other’s company on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 20 following an Owosso Kiwanis meeting at the Comstock Inn & Conference Center in Owosso.

   For more about Welcome Home Veterans, visit www.whvuse.org.

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)


   Welcome Home Veterans (WHV) held its first-annual Wine & Cheese Friendraiser earlier this month in Bancroft, in the former Durand elementary school that will one day be a 34-bed housing facility for veterans in need of short term, long term or transitional housing. With a focus on promoting a healthy environment, WHV will offer treatment for issues such as drug dependency or mental illness, as well as education and employability skills.

   WHV President Kim Bowen purchased the property in Bancroft in August 2016, and with the help of the WHV Board of Directors and numerous volunteers, the dream of creating Shiawassee County’s first veteran housing center is coming together. According to Bowen, her planned “veteran village” would be only the second such facility in the state of Michigan.

   Through a series of auctions, garage sales, furniture sales, golf outings and other fundraisers over the past five years, WHV has raised enough money to purchase architectural drawings and renderings, and they have made progress in cleaning out and renovating the 25,793-square-foot building. There is plenty left to do, but highly successful fundraisers like the recent Wine & Cheese event strengthen Bowen’s resolve to make her vision a reality.

   When Bowen first expressed interest in purchasing the former school in 2016, she stressed the need for veteran housing in Shiawassee County. A few local residents were unsure about how a veteran housing facility would fit in the small village of Bancroft, but three years later, Bowen shares that the overwhelming community support Welcome Home Veterans has received has really pushed the project forward.

   WHV has received support and donations from a number of individuals and organizations, including large donations from the Durand Veterans of Rock N’ Roll and the 100+ Women Who Care of the Greater Owosso Area, and the continued support of the Durand VFW, among many others.

   Welcome Home Veterans has also received strong support from dignitaries at the local, state and federal levels. A handful of those supportive dignitaries, in fact, proved their loyalty to WHV yet again by committing to attend and speak at the recent Wine & Cheese event. Included in that group is Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership President/CEO Justin Horvath, Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jeff Deason, U.S. Congressman John Moolenaar, Michigan Senator Tom Barrett and state Rep. Ben Frederick, the former mayor of Owosso and an original member of the WHV Board of Directors.

      “The Wine & Cheese event was a huge success, in terms of bringing awareness to our cause, and because of how many people came together to make it happen,” shared Bowen. “It will take an enormous amount of sacrifice by a lot of people to make our vision come to fruition, and the continued support of the community is exactly what it will take to make this happen. More hands make lighter work.”

More Hands Make Lighter Work for Welcome Home Veterans was last modified: November 25th, 2019 by Karen Elford