FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — The state of Maryland is home to about 370,000 veterans. Many face the challenge of integrating from combat readiness back to a civilian lifestyle.
It’s this population that fellow veteran, Danny Farrar, aims to serve.
“It’s the fight that the service member wasn’t prepared for and that’s the fight at transition,” Farrar explained.
Farrar himself served in the U.S. Army for eight years before he left the service and struggled to integrate back into civilian life.
“[I] wound up evicted, wound up homeless, divorced, bottomed-out. I attempted suicide myself and that’s been the calling for us: to give back to the guy and girls who are going through those same things with me so we can get them to where I’m at, happy,” Farrar said.
On Monday, Farrar and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley and veteran, Michael Meyer, gathered among dozens to break ground on a new Veterans Services Center.
“We owe our veterans and their families the best possible pathway to reintegrating from the battlefields of surviving war on foreign soil to the battlefields of thriving on home soil,” Meyer stated behind a podium and on a stage during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Under the drizzle of light rain, dozens of community members came to christen the new site located along Monocacy Boulevard and Broadband Drive. In attendance was Maryland Secretary of Veterans Affairs George Owings, state Secretary of Commerce Kelly Shultz, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and state Senator Ron Young.
The 20,000 sq. ft. facility will be the first of its kind in Frederick, offering counseling, navigation through veteran benefits, and job training.
“The idea of leaving the military service and going into the civilian world, it’s quite a cultural shock. You really don’t know what to do or how to do it,” explained veteran Earl Morrissey. Morrissey now works as project manager for Boland.
Farrar estimates the center will aid about 2,500 to 3,000 veterans in the first year of opening.
The center will employ more than a dozen staff partners who have experience with veterans, including Farrar’s non-profit Platoon 22, which works to address the estimated 22 veterans who take their own life every day.
“We’re going to honor our nation’s obligation to take care our warfighters,” Farrar said.