SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. --
SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich.-- Members of the 127th Wing hosted approximately 140 distinguished guests and civic leaders during a key-passing ceremony for Selfridge Air National Guard Base’s newest tenant organization on November 14, 2018. The “Eisenhower Veteran Care Transition Center” will provide a residential rehabilitation and reintegration program, ultimately capable of servicing 42 veteran patients suffering from service-related conditions, specifically post-traumatic stress disorder, mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
“This is a great way that Selfridge can continue to contribute to southeastern Michigan and our local community as well as our nation,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing and Selfridge Air National Guard Base Commander.
"They've given me my mission back."Tom Jones, former Eisenhower patient and CEO of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors
The first phase of the project will take two unoccupied base facilities and renovate them to suit 14 patients and 15 employees. The facilities, formerly utilized as transient housing and the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Service Club will provide housing, rehabilitative care, employment readiness and family support services to treat all types of veterans to establish the capacity to live independently and participate fully in their communities.
“When you have a traumatic brain injury with frontal lobe damage, many times if you get caught up in pain management, you self-medicate and your behaviors start to change,” said John Cornack, chief executive officer of the Eisenhower Center. “It’s hard to control your thoughts and keep [your behavior] consistent…we want [veterans] to be as clear-headed as they can.”
The second phase will renovate unoccupied single-family housing remaining to accommodate up to 42 patients in addition to 42 dependents. The benefit of creating a campus-like environment not only makes it possible to keep veteran families in tact through the duration of the program, but it allows the veterans to find comfort in the familiar setting of a military environment. Selfridge is well-suited for this endeavor due to its inventory of 65 unused single-family homes, built in 1920’s and left vacant after the base realignment and consolidation act of 2005.
“We want them in a comfortable area, in a house, so the family can live together, go through the recovery together,” Cornack said.
The Eisenhower center, out of Ann Arbor, also has facilities in both Manchester and Kewana, Michigan as well as in Jacksonville, Florida. Tom Jones, Army veteran, president of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, and a successfully rehabilitated patient of Eisenhower’s, “After the Impact,” program in Machester, provided his testimony during the ceremony.
“They’ve given me my mission back,” Jones said. “This is a group that cares and they’ll see it through to the end.”