From left, Army veteran Tom Jones, president of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors and a former Eisenhower patient; Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of Selfridge Air National Guard Base; John Cornack, president and CEO of the Eisenhower Center; and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel welcome the base’s newest tenant organization, the Eisenhower Veteran Care Transition Center, during a ceremonial key-passing at the base on Nov. 14.

From left, Army veteran Tom Jones, president of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors and a former Eisenhower patient; Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of Selfridge Air National Guard Base; John Cornack, president and CEO of the Eisenhower Center; and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel welcome the base’s newest tenant organization, the Eisenhower Veteran Care Transition Center, during a ceremonial key-passing at the base on Nov. 14.

Photo provided by the U.S. Air National Guard


Veterans rehabilitation center finds home at Selfridge

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 23, 2018

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township is now the home of the Eisenhower Veteran Care Transition Center, which will provide both residential rehabilitation and reintegration programs to veterans in need.

During a Nov. 14 key-passing ceremony at the base, program officials were welcomed by some 140 guests and civic leaders.

The Eisenhower Veteran Care Transition Center will ultimately be capable of servicing 42 veteran patients suffering from service-related conditions, specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mild to moderate traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

“This is a great way that Selfridge can continue to contribute to southeastern Michigan and our local community, as well as our nation,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

The first phase of the project will take two unoccupied base facilities and renovate them to suit 14 patients and 15 employees. The facilities, formerly utilized as transient housing and as the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Service Club, will provide housing, rehabilitative care, employment readiness and family support services to treat all types of veterans to establish the capacity to live independently and participate fully in their communities.

“When you have a traumatic brain injury with frontal lobe damage, many times if you get caught up in pain management, you self-medicate and your behaviors start to change,” said John Cornack, CEO of the Eisenhower Center. “It’s hard to control your thoughts and keep your behavior consistent. We want veterans to be as clear-headed as they can.”

The second phase will renovate unoccupied single-family housing to accommodate up to 42 patients in addition to 42 dependents. The benefit of creating a campus-like environment not only makes it possible to keep veteran families intact through the duration of the program, but it allows the veterans to find comfort in the familiar setting of a military environment.

Selfridge has ample space to successfully house the program. It has an inventory of 65 unused single-family homes that were built in the 1920s and left vacant after base realignment in 2005.

“We want them in a comfortable area, in a house, so the family can live together, go through the recovery together,” Cornack said.

Tom Jones, an Army veteran and president of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, said he was successfully rehabilitated thanks to Eisenhower’s After the Impact program in Manchester.

“They’ve given me my mission back,” Jones said. “This is a group that cares, and they’ll see it through to the end.”