Augusta Warrior Project programs chosen for national model - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Augusta Warrior Project programs chosen for national model

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

William Wright shuffles to his mailbox for the first time and opens it to find his first bill for the first house he's owned.

"I've always wanted my own house," he said.

Until today it was a dream he'd given up on.

He says after serving in Operation Desert Storm he didn't transition well back into civilian life.

"I got connected with the wrong crowd and got hooked on drugs," Wright, said.

He says because of the grace of God and his involvement with the Augusta Warrior Project, or AWP, he's now a sophomore in college and the homeowner of a house on Broad Street.

"Without it I don't know what I would've done," he said.

Because of their work with veterans, such as Wright, AWP has captured the attention of the national organization Wounded Warrior Project.

Organizers say they admire the way the AWP has cared for veterans and active duty service members in the area. Now they want to use AWP's programs to help other veterans across the country.

The Wounded Warrior Project and the Augusta Warrior Project will take the community-based model into five regions in the U.S. next year. 

The Wounded Warrior Project has given the AWP millions of dollars to spearhead the initiative.

The two groups will decide which communities they'll give the grant money to in order to kick-start the next programs.

Before this partnership, the Wounded Warrior Project took notice of the work at the AWP because of their success with helping soldiers reintegrate into civilian life.

The AWP says they've helped Wright and nearly every other homeless veteran in the CSRA find housing.

In Wright's case, the AWP partnered with Take Back the Block to help the homeless, handicapped veteran call a house his home.

They've also helped dozens of people in our area find work. Because of their efforts, hundreds of veterans have been able to secure funding to further their education.

Cheree Tham, the Community Initiative Developer for the AWP, thinks one of the main reasons why they've been successful is because the community is willing to get involved.

"Without the community the model would've never manifested itself the way that has done," said Tham.

Wright says he believes the program will continue to help others, such as himself, successfully transition from life on the battlefield to life at home.

"If they serve and help the veterans, the poor and the homeless like they do for the people around here then it will be a success," said Wright.

Tham says they should know within three months which communities they will take the program to first. 

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