‘We’re here today; we’ve made it!’

Saving Forgotten Warriors holds open house for Veterans Transitional House in Hanceville

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Saving Forgotten Warriors held an open house for its Veterans Transitional House in Hanceville Wednesday morning. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Veterans services organization Saving Forgotten Warriors (SFW) on Wednesday morning held a grand opening celebration and open house at its transitional house along Hopewell Road in Hanceville, displaying its progress as staff and volunteers work toward a projected facility opening next week.

SFW Founder/Director Jeremy Hogan told The Tribune, “We wanted to showcase what we’ve done over the last few months, and let everybody know that we’re within a week of opening and having veterans in-house. We’ll have seven beds available by the end of next week.”

One side of the duplex is almost complete, awaiting countertops, bed frames and a few other touches. SFW will open the other side at a later date, doubling the facility’s capacity. Housing will be provided for up to eight veterans on each side, though Hogan said he hopes to keep that number at seven per side to give long-term residents a little more space. He added that the extra beds can be used for emergency housing.

Hogan and his staff will identify local veterans in need of housing, and will work with Veterans Affairs to identify others as well.

A big group effort, starting at the top

Asked about who should be recognized for contributions and support to the project, Hogan told The Tribune, “God, first and foremost, and my wife (Julie May Hogan).”

With The Tribune and later with the crowd gathered outside the house, he shared a list of people and businesses including Bedzzz Express, Cullman Lions Club, Cullman Elks Lodge, Wilco Cabinets, Artisan Workshop, John Weygand, Zac Lee and Lowe’s, Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail and the Hanceville City Council, Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman and Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, Don Scott and the Baptist Men’s Team, Walker Brothers, Jeremy Wootten and HomTex, Highway 157 Wal-Mart and Hanceville Dairy Queen.

To the crowd, Hogan said, “I would say my word of the day is perseverance, because that’s exactly what it’s taken to get this thing done . . . It has been probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in quite some time, to get this place together and to go through the hurdles we had to go through, including playing with a saw with my finger, to who knows what, to raising funds even. So, God willing- He made it happen- we’re here today; we’ve made it!”

For more about SFW, including its upcoming Labor Day weekend Boston butt fundraising sale, visit www.facebook.com/Savingforgottenwarriors.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com