A commercial property developer offered veteran Marty Weber $3 million for his land.
He turned down the opportunity to construct a retreat for homeless soldiers suffering from addiction.
Weber signed a statement of intent last month to give 36 acres of forested land in New Jersey to serve as a group home, rehabilitation centre, and peaceful retreat for homeless veterans suffering from addiction and mental illness.
In remembrance of his late companion, Jeff, the camp will be called Jeff’s Camp.
While serving in the US Army, Weber met Jeff Poissant. They were business and life partners for three decades before Poissant died of bladder cancer at the age of 56 four years ago.
Weber said they had always wanted to use their land to help other soldiers, and after Poissant’s death, he felt obliged to make that goal a reality.
“We thought about a cemetery for the vets,” said Weber, “but this is going to keep them alive.”
The plan for Jeff’s Camp is for an 8,000-square-foot structure that would house a treatment centre managed by New Life Addiction Services and a thrift store run by Just Believe, a non-profit that helps the homeless and underprivileged.
Dr. Joseph Savon, New Life’s chief medical officer, said the mix of treatment centre, permanent housing, and retreat was, as far as he knew, unprecedented. According to Savon, research have shown that exposure to natural settings offers a variety of health advantages, including reduced blood pressure and enhanced mental wellness.
Veterans would establish a natural support group with a very strong, particular relationship that non-vets would not share by living under the same roof.
“I think the combination of things, the thrift store, counseling on the premises, whole groups in the woods, all those things, it’s just tremendous,” Savon said.
The project is expected to cost $2.5 million, which Just Believe wants to fund through donations and grants.
Jeff’s Camp will hold its inaugural fundraiser on August 9.Follow Us