LLR provides 16 rooms for a variety of veteran needs under the supervision of former Army mechanic Adam Reardon. We are negotiating a contract with the VA that will pay the costs for half of those rooms regardless of occupancy. One room is configured to house up to six residents that need only temporary lodging. Three rooms house two veterans each and the other 12 are single residency. The rooms are classified as efficiency apartments and are wheelchair accessible. If residents receive government assistance, Social Security or VA Disability payments, we ask them to pay a small portion for their food. All eligible veterans will be housed regardless of financial contribution. Until October 2018 we will engage the least restrictions possible in order to identify the greatest housing need among our veterans and then posture ourselves to meet that need. Our acceptance criteria are:
Certified copy of DD 214
Able to move about without assistance and able to provide self-care
No 3G felony convictions
No sex offenders
Successful completion of at least 30 day rehab program (no active alcoholism or drug use)
Everyone will work a minimum of 4 hours per day for the ranch, regardless of employment or study. Saturday will involve community service and time with family. Sunday will be a day of rest devoted to spiritual pursuits (or enlightenment for atheists/agnostics). Residents are required to prepare their own breakfast and lunch. Everyone will participate in house maintenance.
VETERAN OUTREACH PROGRAM
Retired Army Sergeant First Class Eric Bourquin heads this effort to link up with veterans across the United States and connect them with the resources they need to be successful. This is done through personal interaction via fishing and planned outdoor activities. Eric uses his powerful story to connect with former service members while pursuing the elusive river carp, a worthy adversary indeed. He describes himself as a civilian platoon sergeant and problem solver. Check out his website here (insert).
LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM
Texarkana attorneys have volunteered their pro bono hours to helping our veterans overcome a variety of problems from family law to assistance in reclaiming their benefits. Residents have priority for this program though other veterans may be eligible if resources are available. Our long term goal with this program is to include an additional fund for this program to help defray legal expenses for more complex issues. On a side note, Lancer Legacy Ranch is pleased to have played a foundational role in bringing a Veteran’s Court to Bowie County, Texas that will serve seven counties once established.
This program addresses a wide variety of common mental health issues ranging from general depression to PTSD. Our volunteer staff consists of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a LPC Intern and a Certified Peer Specialist with extensive combat experience. An evidence-based, stepped program is under design and will be under the supervision of Dr. Karyn Skaar, a Pittsburgh, TX based psychologist. We are also considering the REBOOT program, a successful evidence based module that has shown great promise in treating severe PTSD. This program will be fully functional by April 1st, 2018.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM
LLR is constructing a full-fledged 2,500 square foot community center and cyber café within our facility. Scheduled for a soft opening in February 2018 and a grand opening on April 7th, 2018, this hub of our outreach program offers a chance to bring veterans and the community back together, enhancing life for both. Here we will offer recreation, food, access to the internet, weekend workshops and continuing education. The real magic happens when a veteran who struggles with isolation shares a game of chess with a civilian who cared enough to stop in and listen. Once we have sufficient resources in place we will take the fight to the streets, as it were, by identifying impoverished and elderly citizens with whom to share our food and labor.
ANIMAL RESCUE PROGRAM
Time and again the healing relationship between a deeply wounded human and a discarded animal proves to be pivotal for both. This program aims to provide a service to the community as a no-kill shelter for small and large animals in addition to serving as a therapeutic outlet for veterans recovering from the moral injury of war. We are fortunate to have a next-door neighbor who is both a Vietnam veteran AND a veterinarian and has offered to help out with this endeavor. Once we have found a suitable veteran to head this program, we will subsidize their training as a service dog trainer and house veterans who arrive specifically to bond with their new service animal.
At the heart of the original Lancer Legacy Ranch mission was a love of growing our own food and creating a self-sufficient homestead. Marine and former Army Sergeant Mike Pickrel will take the lead on developing systems to produce enough food, provide renewable energy and shape sustainable living practices. This is a phase II project that begins October 1st, 2018.
CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM
In phase II of our operation we will inaugurate our vocational training aspirations with a residential program to teach blade smithing, a craft that has proven therapeutic benefits for veterans. We will also complete a partnership agreement with Texarkana College to provide a wide array of training options, on and off site, for our residents. Options will include Distance Learning courses through the VA Voc Rehab Program, use of GI Bill funds for higher education or vocational training and scholarships provided by local industries that will hire our students upon graduation. Core classes will be offered on site with a low teacher/student ratio and environment that eases the transition back to civilian life.
EMPOWERING WOMEN PROGRAM
Phase III begins on or about October 2019 with breaking ground for our Lady Veteran Village on the back side of the property. Nestled among serene woodlands, this community of tiny homes and sustainable cottages will form the nexus of our program dedicated to healing our female warriors. Retired Air Force Vietnam veteran Karrie Allen will provide guidance and mentorship to our Valkyrie squad.