Sarge’s Place in Forks to raise funds for vets one commemorative brick at a time in new fundraiser
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Cheri Tinker, director of Sarge’s Place, and Sam Powell, a veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, pause in August with a walkway paved with commemorative bricks sold in 2013. — Debbie Preston

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

FORKS — Just as the military is built one soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman at a time, Sarge’s Place, a transitional housing project for homeless veterans, is built one brick at a time, said its director, Cheri Tinker.

The complex at 250 Ash Ave. needs help to buy food and household supplies for resident veterans through the coming year, Tinker said.

To that end, the sale of $50 commemorative bricks, ordered with custom engraving in lots of 100, are to be used in constructing a brick path for the facility’s main entryway, with the price tag going to help purchase supplies.

At least 100 bricks must be sold — bringing in $5,000 — to complete the order, Tinker said.

Items on the shopping list include toilet paper, paper towels and basic foodstuffs such as flour, sugar, spices and other communal cooking ingredients, she said.

The facility provides private living space for each veteran — up to eight beds for men and four for women — but they cook and eat in a common kitchen area.

Most have no income or are living on small monthly military disability checks and about $100 each in food stamps per month, Tinker said.

Having a communal supply of basic foods supplements that meager supply, she said.

An order form for the bricks can be printed from www.tinyurl.com/PDNbricks, or phone Sarge’s Place at 360-374-5252 to get a form in the mail.

Sarge’s Place is also looking for the donation or very low-cost sale of a fuel efficient used car to ferry veterans to Veterans Administration hospitals in Seattle and Tacoma.

The organization owns a Chevrolet Suburban which is expensive to operate for long trips with only one or two passengers, Tinker said.

All donations to Sarge’s Place through its parent nonprofit organization, the North Olympic Regional Veterans Housing Network, are tax deductible.

Donations can be arranged by phoning Sarge’s Place.

Sarge’s Place is funded through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, fundraisers and donations from the community. Information on its operating budget was not immediately available.

Currently, there are seven veterans living at Sarge’s Place and three families living at The Outpost, a four-apartment building in Port Angeles opened in March for veterans with families.

“We are currently looking for a fourth family to live there,” Tinker said.

The small complex was purchased by Sarge’s Place with a $500,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and upgraded and remodeled with assistance from the Peninsula Housing Authority, she said.

The Outpost is located at the dead-end of an alley at the east end of Lopez Avenue, which creates a quiet, private oasis for the families who live there, she said.

Tinker said she would like to add a Jefferson County location to serve veterans across the North Olympic Peninsula.

To be eligible for housing, veterans must have an honorable or “general, under honorable conditions” discharge from the military and must be clean and sober.

Sarge’s Place is an alcohol and drug-free facility.

Of the 20 alumni residents of Sarge’s Place, 18 have been able to maintain housing on their own after leaving the facility, Tinker said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 27. 2014 5:57PM
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