A local veterans meeting place and rehabilitation center for homeless veterans was on the brink of closing its doors just months ago.

 

But the latest in a recent string of successes has certainly brightened the future of Five Star Veterans Center in Jacksonville.

The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, through the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver veterans fund, awarded a $100,000 grant to the center Wednesday.

“I’m very grateful to be considered for an award such as that,” said Col. Len Loving, the center’s chief operating officer. “It’s going to definitely allow us to maintain and keep the center open.”

Five Star Veterans Center, which was devastated by the Allied Veterans of the World corruption case, was nearly forced to close its doors and put residents back out on the street. Allied provided most of the funding for the facility, then called Allied Veterans Center.

Five Star was waiting on a court order to absolve it from any connection to the Allied Internet gaming scandal. Once Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office issued the order, the center saw considerable support from the community.

Home Depot sponsored a still-ongoing remodeling of the center, but much of the donations that have kept Five Star on its feet have come from private donations.

“Very gratefully, we’ve received a considerable amount of donations from John Q. Public, that people are so considerate and kind to send to us,” Loving said.

However, the Weaver grant represents a considerable jump in the center’s financial outlook.

“The Weavers wanted to help the vets center,” said Mark LeMaire of the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida. “They’ve had a rough season, but they’re recognized for doing good work. They wanted to help stabilize them.”

The Five Star Veterans Center serves as a meeting place for veterans but focuses on rehabilitating homeless post-9/11 veterans, most of whom have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The center on Acme Street off Atlantic Boulevard currently houses 27 veterans.

Clifford Davis: (904) 359-4207