LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – Discovering Soldiers Potential II is a non-profit organization that was created by a U.S. Army veteran to ease soldiers transition from active duty to civilian life. The organization is now taking their mission one step further and building a veterans center in LaGrange named after longtime commissioner, Richard English. The Richard English Waypoint Veterans Service Center will have a store, laundry units and rooms for veterans to live in for up to a year.
Sandra Brownlee, the CEO of DSP II, said she had the idea to build the center because she noticed a need for a transitional home for soldiers where they could get acclimated to civilian life after she retired from 27 years in the service.
“I came up with the idea because of that factor. We had no where to go where we could have like-minded people that would listen to us and understand where we were coming from so that as a team we can then be effective for the community we were moving in,” said Brownlee.
Brownlee said she decided to name the veterans center after English because he grew very dear to her after running the recreation center Brownlee used to visit in her youth. Brownlee said English used to look out for her in her early years and guided her.
“He was sort of the guy that kept us out of trouble and just sort of looked out for us and made sure we were safe from harm. He’s very near and dear to my family but my heart as well so I’m very, very excited about being able to put his name on our building,” said Brownlee.
The veterans service center will be located at the previous Georgia State Patrol Post off of Hamilton Rd. Brownlee said her goals as this center develops are to ensure that soldiers have a place to go when they leave the active duty service and to create a place they can confide in to learn about the community.
She expects the center to open by the spring of 2022 because the only major repair it needs is a new roof which is expected to be completed within the next three months. Brownlee said she has partnered with many community organizations to complete the center but would still like more volunteers to complete the project sooner.
She also said the camaraderie will be her favorite part of creating a service center because it will be a safe place for soldiers to go where they will feel understood upon leaving active duty.
“It’s not about money because it is an all volunteer force so it’s not about us making money off them it’s just about taking care and they see that,” said Brownlee.