David Gates, who has been heavily involved with a project known as Veterans Helping Hands Project, which began in 2018, tells us more.
“This is probably the biggest part of my therapy, is helping other veterans. We [Vietnam veterans] don’t want to see the next generation of veterans go through the same thing happen to us. So we want to help. And I started a nonprofit called Veterans Helping Hands Project. We’re done with the plan. We’re just in the process of figuring out the financing and where we’re going to get it. It’s a very, very bold, aggressive project that’s ten and a half million dollars to go ahead and do this. We want to help the veterans in the drug and alcohol rehab program in Hot Springs. Get them into the factory, building homes under the tutelage of like retired electricians, journeymen electricians, plumbers, carpenters, sheet rockers and anybody who wants to help.”
Gates continues, “I really have a heart for the veterans to try to get them job skills. You know, contracting, construction industry skills and there’s a lot of contractors here. I mean everybody’s looking for help. It will be the proving ground for these guys.”
Gates is working with Mayor Allender and Hani Shafi to develop housing some land. Gates says, “The factory setting will be down there in Hot Springs to where we will have a manufacturing facility where we can build smaller homes inside. One of the doors is 20 foot wide so we can get some homes out of there. But mainly it will be like, you know, prefab and walls and marking up cabinets and stuff like that. And we’ll have a sawmill in there so we can do a lot of our own milling.” Gates says that every stage of the building process including sheetrock, tape, texture, paint, finish, carpentry, insulation and siding would be on the job training for veterans.
Gates is hoping to have the project off the ground by September 1. Gates says he would love for anyone who is interested or has the skill set to contact him. For more information you can visit the website here.