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Retired Maj. Gen. John Tindall, president of USA Cares, described Saturday as a “day of a thousand thank yous.”
Tindall joined with the staff and board of directors of USA Cares in lockstep with state and city officials to break ground at the future site of the military charity’s headquarters, which Executive Director Bill Nelson hopes will be completed by the end of the year.
The location, 1655 N. Logsdon Parkway in Radcliff, was donated to USA Cares by Glenn Turner, Joe Prather and Prather’s son, Jody. The three men are business partners in Silver Gate Properties.
Prather, representing Silver Gate Properties, said the organization offered the two acres of property at no cost once hearing about USA Cares’ need because they wanted to give back to those who have laid down so much for the country.
Prather, a Hardin County native, told the crowd he grew up during World War II in the shadow of Fort Knox and interacted with men and women in uniform on a personal basis, standing in admiration of their heroism.
But the property is just one cog in the creation of the new headquarters. The project started once the Kentuckiana Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractorss offered to build the facility at no cost to USA Cares. ABC has 77 chapters nationally and represents roughly 25,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms. More than 450 companies comprise the Kentuckiana chapter.
Billy Parson, president and CEO of the Kentuckiana chapter of ABC, said last year few within the local branch knew of USA Cares’ work until representatives of the charity visited the ABC chapter to discuss its Jobs for Vets program, of which ABC is an active partner.
Parson said that some within ABC are veterans and the mission of USA Cares resonated with them immediately.
Nelson has said the need for a new headquarters was issued as a challenge to the members of the Kentuckiana ABC. While Nelson feared the request would be met with derision, he was instead flooded with optimism as members asked him when construction could start.
Similar projects have been attempted by ABC chapters in the past. An Oklahoma chapter constructed a new headquarters for the Folds of Honor Foundation, a group that raises money and issues scholarships to the spouses and children of military members killed or injured in the line of duty.
Parson spoke Saturday, saying ABC is fully committed to the project.
“It was one of those challenges that we, as an association, we had to say yes,” Parson said. “Even though it’s the biggest we’ve ever taken a bite out of.”
After the ceremony, Parson said ABC is unclear on the finish because it will likely be months before they can start on the building.
“We’re not talking about an end date yet,” he said.
Parson also said he was unclear on the costs ABC would accrue on the 8,000-square-foot building because the work will be conducted by volunteers, meaning money won’t change hands on every step of the project.
ABC recently received the artistic rendering and Parson said they will now review the project and determine what contractors will be selected for the various projects on site.
During the ceremony, Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall presented USA Cares with a signed proclamation declaring Saturday USA Cares day in the city. Duvall said the city is proud of USA Cares’ efforts and wants to keep it anchored in Radcliff.
Tindall said the vision first started eight years ago has blossomed into something much greater than anyone could imagine when it launched as Kentuckiana Cares.
Since 2003, More than 23,000 families have been served and millions have been spent to help military families pay bills, place food on the table and avoid foreclosure. By gaining this facility, Tindall added, USA Cares is investing in the next 80 years.
“The needs will still be there then,” he said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 firstname.lastname@example.org.