Hero Reward gets boost from Ford, UAW
Rodney Bruce’s dream of a retreat center for U.S. service members and first responders, as well as their families, continues to come to fruition.
On Saturday, dignitaries from both sides of the Ohio River gathered at Bruce’s 200-acre site near White Cloud to break ground for a retreat center that will provide overnight accommodations.
As part of Hero Reward, the lodging facility, which will have four separate sleeping quarters, a handicap-accessible bathroom a kitchen and front-porch, will be constructed next to an existing structure that includes a living room and kitchen. A $100,000 donation from Ford and United Auto Workers Local 862 is helping to further Bruce’s dream.
Ford officials said their company has a ‘long history’ of supporting the military. The company has donated 156 vans to the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network.
‘It’s about helping one another,’ Jimmy Settles UAW vice president, said. ‘There’s nothing more dear to our hearts than veterans.’
UAW members are expected to volunteer about 800 hours of labor to help with the construction of the lodge, which Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862, called a ‘home away from home’ for those who will use it. It’s estimated that 50 families will use the retreat facility each year.
‘This crowd proves it’s never too pretty to find time to honor those who served,’ Bruce said of the dozens who attended the ceremony.
Many in the audience are members of the Patriot Guard, which provided a motorcycle escort for the dignitaries who attended the ground-breaking.
Bruce told the story of taking his father to reunite with a fellow soldier after many years. He said the men met in a lobby of a hotel and shed tears for hours while reliving their time of service.
‘There’s a friendship and bond with these guys that can’t be matched,’ Bruce said.
But they shouldn’t have to display their feelings in a hotel lobby, he said, which is why he came up with the idea for a retreat center.
Bruce founded Hero Reward, a nonprofit organization, in September 2011. It offers an outdoor excursion, including hunting, fishing, skeet shooting and more, at no charge.
‘This joint effort of Ford, UAW and the local community will help Hero Reward provide top-notch healing services and therapeutic results,’ Bruce said.
The new retreat center is expected to be complete in four to six weeks.
‘It’s a privilege for the UAW to partner in this joint community effort to provide a retreat center for those whose service has protected our great nation,’ Gary Casteel, director of UAW Region 8, said.
The Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County helped organize the ground-breaking ceremony. Hero Reward is a Chamber member.
For more information, visit Hero Reward’s website, www.heroreward.com or call 267-4555.