The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Wilmington and Norfolk Districts, at John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir entered into a cost sharing agreement with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion to provide 100% handicapped-accessible fishing and boating access, picnic shelter and restroom facilities at Island Creek State Park for patients at local Veteran Affairs Medical Centers in Salem and Richmond, VA and Durham, NC and their families.
The local VA Medical Centers have niche patient populations including, but not limited to, spinal cord injuries (Richmond), medical and surgical cases (Durham) and neurological cases (Salem, VA). The recreational therapy departments of three VA Medical Centers have been sending patients to Kerr Lake for fishing, boatingand picnic activities for the last three years. Local veteran groups have hosted over 300 patients and staff and have served over 1000 meals. The vets love the program because it helps them adjust back to civilian life. These outings give them a chance to get out of the hospital environment and experience some level of normalcy. Local volunteers provide the boats, food and gas.
This project is a historic cost-sharing agreement based on the huge demand for recreational therapy programs for hospitalized patients and recently discharged patients. It was one of the 11 selected nationwide to receive $25,000 as part of the USACE’s Challenge Partnership Handshake Program. The grant funds will go towards construction of the facilities and infrastructure.
Timmons Group provided land surveying services primarily in the form of construction layout services. Commonwealth Architects and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. provided conceptual planning services for the project on a pro bono basis.