FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. (WTXF) - Over a year ago, we told you about the plans of Pastor Donnie Davis to take a campground that he raised funds to buy and turn it into free tiny houses for veterans.
“As a vet and even as a former police officer, we have that saying never leave anyone behind, man or woman,” said Pastor Donnie Davis.
It was all about raising funds getting donations and finding support. But what once seemed like maybe unreasonable or at least really loft goals, now Pastor Davis says it’s becoming a reality.
“With the support of the community and just amazing people throughout the country really, we’ve been able to build our first three houses and have our first resident living here now,” said Davis.
It has been a sometimes slow process but we walked through the first house, two more are nearly finished and getting closer to not only providing free houses but also the support that Pastor Donnie who himself deals with PTSD knows that too many vets need.
“22 veterans commit suicide every day and I know many police officers including myself, we know what the barrel of our gun tastes like. So how can we help, how can we reach out and not leave those people behind,” said Davis.
Lakes, hiking trails, with plans for counseling and training centers, Operation Safe Haven always had amazing potential. However, as word continues to spread people from across the country People like Eric Hadley want to help.
“A go fund me notification came across my email, in the subject line it said tiny homes for veterans with what I’m doing that caught my attention obviously,” said Eric Hadley.
Eric is also a veteran and his Got Your Six Coffee Company donates all of their profits to vets. He was all the way in Missouri but joined in because he knew first hand of the struggles.
“You’ve got individuals who put their life on the line and serve the country and then they get out of the service and they’re just kind of left,” said Hadley.
He put together a raffle with thousands of dollars in prizes to help Pastor Donnie complete Operation Safe Haven with any luck and support do the same thing in Missouri.
So here we are, plans for as many houses as they can build donated to needy veterans, Eric and pastor Donnie say how many, that’s up to us.
"If you can do something then do it and if not support those that can," said Hadley.
“Whether you can rake leaves cut trees or build houses, anybody can get involved,” said Davis.
Of course, you can donate and make sure that right here in South Jersey there will always be hundreds of acres of thank you’s to people who already proved they’d serve us when given a chance. For Goodness Sake.