Flag flies high over Honor Ridge
By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Members of East Carolina University's Air Force ROTC Color Guard dedicated an American flag on Monday at a location it was sure to be appreciated.
The Veteran’s Day flag dedication ceremony was held at noon at Honor Ridge, an affordable housing development opened in March to reduce homelessness among veterans in Pitt County. The newly dedicated pole will fly the flag daily in the development.
Currently, 14 Honor Ridge veterans receive rental assistance vouchers to live in the comfortable homes on Thomas Langston Road. The vouchers are provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.
According to Jonathan Forte, administrator of Greenville's Veteran's Affairs Health Care Center, programs like Honor Ridge are the antidote to combatting homelessness for veterans.
“Honor Ridge is a great public and private partnership between the VA, the City of Greenville and the housing authority,” Forte said. “This allows homeless and at-risk veterans the opportunity to find a home and have a safe affordable place to live,” Forte said.
At the Greenville VA Health Care Center and in hundreds of thousands of VA facilities across the country, Forte said staff members work with compassion and respect, putting veterans and their families first, to continue to answer the call to those who’ve borne the battle.
And homelessness among veterans is on the decline according to Forte.
“From 2017-2018, we continue to see veteran homelessness decline throughout the country, so projects such as Honor Ridge are a big part of why that number continues to decline. The VA continues its commitment to ending veteran homelessness throughout the country,” Forte said.
During the ceremony, Forte spoke about the importance of remembering those who have made great sacrifices for their country.
“It is our duty to remember the sacrifices of all veterans and make certain that our commitments to them and their families are honored. Today as we celebrate our nation's veterans, we must also thank them for their service and their sacrifice which continues to guarantee our liberty and our way of life,” Forte said.
Forte continued, “I want to thank the Greenville Housing Authority and our VA homeless outreach staff for their tireless efforts to honor veterans; ensuring they have access to safe, affordable housing right here in the City of Greenville.”
Also during the ceremony, Don Cavellini, who serves as vice chairman of the Greenville Housing Authority board, said that he was impressed with how many people showed up to the ceremony.
“It takes a certain amount of dedication to actually be here when it's so cold and windy,” Cavellini said. “We've been here before under conditions much like this when we had the groundbreaking and when we cut the ribbon,” Cavellini said.
After the ceremony, the residents of Honor Ridge received blankets and other gifts to thank them for their service and food and refreshments also were served.
Forte said that he could think of no better time than Veteran's Day to install Old Glory. Veteran’s Day fell on Sunday this year, but was observed with a federal holiday on Monday.
“Being that it's Veteran's Day, we thought it would be a good time to install the flag itself. This flagpole and this community is just one way we can continue to honor the lives and the memories who served and continue to serve,” Forte said.
Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflectorcom and 329-9566.
The Greenville VA Health Care Center is hosting its annual flag raising ceremony at at 8 a.m. today at the facility at 401 Moye Blvd. The event is open to the public. “Throughout the month we will hold events that honor all veterans who unselfishly placed their lives on the line for our freedom,” said Paul Crews, director of the Durham VA Health Care System. “We here at DVAHCS hold our Veterans and their sacrifices near and dear to our hearts.”