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November 22. 2012 8:13PM

Soldier's On fundraiser aims to help homeless veterans

PLYMOUTH - New Hampshire's Soldier On project, which is working to find permanent housing for homeless veterans, will kick off its fundraising effort at an event Nov. 29 at the Common Man Inn and Spa.

Soldier On is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that works with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies to provide veterans with shelter and support in an environment that offers dignity, integrity and hope.

The organization's mission is to offer a permanent source of care for veterans that includes immediate and long-term housing with services delivered where they live. The project is designed to assist them in their transition from homelessness to homeownership.

The event will formally mark the beginning of a fundraising effort for Soldier On's first New Hampshire permanent housing community, said Cathy Bentwood, director of the Bridge House Homeless shelter in Plymouth and a member of the local Soldier On leadership team.

The project has had strong local support from veterans, business leaders and state and federal political leaders, all of whom are committed to providing the kinds of services and assistance that veterans themselves say they need and want, Bentwood said.

The goal is to alleviate the problem of homeless veterans in the North Country and statewide, she said.

The group is planning a veterans' housing facility in Holderness, though details of the project are still being worked out.

"It's an honor to be part of Soldier On's New Hampshire initiative," Bentwood said. "Soldier On is ahead of the curve in solving this problem."

Local Soldier On team members have been meeting this fall with potential contributors to the project. Those meetings went well, and there is now a more detailed project plan, which will be shared at the event, she said.

The goal for Phase 1 of the fundraising project is $75,000, which will cover the predevelopment costs.

Common Man owner Alex Ray has offered a 1-to-1 match for the first $25,000 committed.

The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. and will feature remarks by Jack Downing, president and CEO of Soldier On, as well as members of the New Hampshire leadership team.

Those wishing to attend or seeking more information may call 536-3720 or email kristine@lruw.org. Gifts of all sizes will be accepted.

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Dan Seufert may be reached at dseufert@newstote.com.

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