LOUISVILLE - United Auto Workers Local 862 and Ford officials broke ground recently on a new retreat center that will provide overnight housing accommodations for wounded service members, first responders and their families from across the Kentuckiana area.
Approximately $100,000 in capital and labor will be donated by the UAW and Ford to construct the center on the campus of local nonprofit Hero Reward.
Todd Dunn, president, UAW 862 will volunteer his time to the building of the center, along with upwards of 60 of his fellow union members.
Members of the UAW Local 862 from Kentucky Truck and Louisville Assembly Plants are planning to volunteer to build the facility, which will be completed in approximately 4 to 6 weeks.
“In the next 4 to 6 weeks we’ll put in well over 800 hours,” said Dunn “We won’t quit until the last of the roof is done.”
The center, located in in Corydon, Ind., offers the program “Healing Without Walls,” which includes an alternatives to traditional counseling and rehabilitation by utilizing counselors and peer mentors.
The Hero Reward facility sits on 200 acres and offers outdoor excursion retreats for wounded veterans and their families at no charge. The organization was founded in September 2011 and hosts approximately 50 wounded heroes and their families each year.
When completed, the 2,200-square-foot, two-story retreat center will feature four guest quarters, a handicapped-accessible restroom, a kitchen and a porch.
“We’re very pleased and very happy that Ford and UAW have stepped up to make this a reality,” said Rodney Bruce, founder and CEO, Hero Reward.
"This donation goes a long way in giving local wounded veterans a new center for relaxation and recuperation," said Marty Mulloy, vice president, Labor Affairs, Ford Motor Company. "The construction started today will have an impact on our community for years."
“Ford has a long history of supporting the military, dating back to 1922,” said John Alkire, manager, Human Resources, Kentucky Truck Plant. “We’re dedicated to helping wounded warriors and first responders recover mentally and physically.”
Supporting the nation's wounded military veterans has been a priority for Ford since Henry Ford first organized a cross-country caravan of 50 Model T Fords to take disabled veterans to the 1922 national Disabled American Veterans conference in San Francisco.”