The Freedom Center at Henry Hall will be more than a place U.S. veterans can live; it will be a place where learning and new beginnings will unfold.
That was the message on Jan. 29, 2014, as the community gathered together for the re-dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony renovated Henry Hall, which will now house veterans as they earn their Hiram College education.
Hiram College recently partnered with Patriot Development, LLC, to establish the Freedom Center at Henry Hall. Renovations included the conversion of 44 double occupancy rooms into single private quarters for veterans attending Hiram under the post-9/11 GI Bill. As part of the launch of the initiative, the first 20 veterans to sign up for the program will receive free housing for the fist two months of their time at Hiram.
Several officials from across the state of Ohio gave remarks at Wednesday’s dedication, including state auditor Dave Yost; Amber Moore, of Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office; Eli Faes, legislative and public affairs director of the Ohio Board of Regents; and Jason Dominguez, assistant director and chief of staff of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
Yost applauded veterans for their service, honor and selflessness. He acknowledged that the greater population will never fully understand what it’s like to come back after service, but initiatives like the Freedom Center are one way to help them begin their lives again.
“The great thing about this hall is not just the leg up on university life that it gives our veterans,” he said. “It’s the fact that it gives them a place where their culture, their shared experiences – their fears, their injuries, their hopes – that all those things make sense to each other. It’s a place where they’ll be able to help each other with their studies, a place where they’ll be able to feel like they fit in.”
Ohio has the sixth largest veteran population in the country, and Hiram College is the first college in the Midwest to offer dedicated housing to veterans as they earn their degrees.
“Our goal is to provide the best environment for the successful transition from the military back into civilian life,” said Hiram DeJesus, President of Patriot Development. “What Hiram offers returning veterans is a beautiful setting just 40 minutes away from the vibrant metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Akron-Canton and Youngstown-Warren. This allows for the readjustment that experts consider crucial to bringing out the best of our country’s valuable human assets.”
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