Missouri National Guard short funds for resiliency center

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri National Guard Foundation needs funding to finish construction on a resilience center at the Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City.

The facility will provide a place for veterans, servicemen and women and their families to receive mental, spiritual, financial support, as well a variety of other counseling services.

Secretary of the Missouri National Guard Foundation Tony Bamvakais said leadership at the training site recognized the need for the space several years ago. He said psychological support and interventions are a high priority to National Guard leaders. He said the training site also lacked a proper venue for memorials and weddings. 

"We really didn't have a place to do it," Bamvakais said.

Bamvakaisa said the project, funded by private donations and fundraising efforts by the foundation, cost $750,000 to complete. He said the foundation needs $150,000 more to finish construction. The idea for the center came about in 2010, but construction began January 2014. Initially, he said they hoped it would be finished by summer but construction roadblocks and finances have slowed its completion.

Chaplain Colonel Gary Gilmore said the goal of the space is to "support life in all its phases."

"The upheaval of deployment affects everyone," Gilmore said. "In the National Guard you've got some folks who are brand new daddies and they're going and writing home, buying baby gifts. You have other folks who are grandpas and they're seeing their grandchildren. It's all throughout the generations and it effects everyone a little different."

He said different experiences during deployment and a wide range of family situations to come home to lead to an undeniable need for support services when service members return home.

"You can't just pick up where you left off because life has moved forward."

The facility will provide support services to servicemen and women and their families.

"Our soldiers come from the community to serve the community and it's kind of an implied deal that we're willing to go and do whatever the community asks of us, but the greatest thing you can say is thank you for your service."

Donations can be made through the Missouri National Guard Foundation website or through its GoFundMe account or through the Missouri National Guard Website.
Payable donations can be made to:

Missouri National Guard Foundation
2302 Militia Drive
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101