Tue October 18, 2022
Hannah Comeau and Brittney Christopher
CB Con-Agg, a division of Cleveland Brothers, recently partnered with the Veterans Outreach of Pennsylvania (VOPA) to clear 5 acres of land to make room for 15 tiny homes dedicated to homeless veterans in central Pennsylvania.
VOPA is a nonprofit organization with a mission dedicated to combating homelessness among veterans by providing the support and services needed to promote an empowered life. On top of VOPA providing tiny, livable homes to homeless veterans, veterans also will have access to systems of care, employment and the community.
Onsite at the 15 tiny homes, there will be a VOPA Community Center where veterans will be able to meet with family, friends and service providers to be guided through the support services offered by the community. These resources are designed to offer the physical and mental support needed to help these veterans transition back to a successful, healthy and independent life, which VOPA refers to as the transitional therapeutic model.
Beginnings of VOPA
Tom Zimmerman, founder and president of VOPA, knew he and his wife wanted to devote their retirement to giving back to a community in need. When Zimmerman's father, a veteran, passed away, it was time to make his ambitions a reality.
One night while scrolling Facebook, Zimmerman came across a friend's video of a community project with newly built tiny homes dedicated to homeless veterans in Wisconsin. This sparked an idea for Zimmerman, and he knew this would be the perfect thing to bring to life in central Pennsylvania. Zimmerman then started reaching out to other organizations, as well as the Wisconsin team for guidance and support.
Shortly after the project was launched, the 5-acre land was donated from Harrisburg local Peggy Grove.
"We owe it to our veterans, to help those who have fallen on hard times. If you were willing to sacrifice your life for our freedom, you deserve a helping hand. The Veterans Outreach of Pennsylvania will help our veterans who are experiencing homelessness and help with the transition into living an empowered life they deserve," said Zimmerman.
CB Con-Agg Donates Crusher for Land Clearing
VOPA launched the project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Veterans Day in November 2021 with nearly 100 volunteers in attendance. After saluting their veterans, the volunteers lined up to clean the site in preparation of land clearing. Once that phase was completed, VOPA used donated equipment from the community to clear the land months later in April 2022.
Among the equipment was a crusher donated by CB Con-Agg and Cleveland Brothers. The track portable jaw crusher, a Metso Outotec LT106, broke down concrete foundations and walls on the land, originally belonging to a now-closed steel mill.
The mobile crusher, designed to transport easily and break down even the toughest materials, was just what VOPA needed to keep the project running smoothly. This same crusher repurposed the concrete materials into road base, which will later be used onsite to create an access road — saving VOPA both time and money.
The best part? Active military members and volunteers from the Air Force Red Horse Squadron solely operated the crusher. Due to the dedicated volunteers and reliable equipment, the lot clearing exceeded expectations and only took 15 days to complete.
Ways to Support
While the crusher was only a portion of VOPA's latest project, CB Con-Agg and Cleveland Brothers were honored to contribute to such a worthy cause.
Tom Jamieson, CB Con-Agg general manager, said, "Although Cleveland Brothers covered the cost of transportation and did not charge for the use of the equipment, what we did was a very small part. It's a machine; it had positive results, and we are happy to participate."
In addition to the recent donation, CB Con-Agg and Cleveland Brothers also proudly employs veterans and active military servicemen and women.
VOPA plans to begin construction in the spring 2023. If interested, there are many ways to get involved. From volunteering your time and skillsets to sponsoring a brick, bench or flag, there are many ways to support VOPA and our veterans.
For more information, visit www.veteransoutreachofpa.org or search for "Veterans Outreach of PA" on social media.
For more information on CB Con-Agg's complete crushing and screening services, visit www.clevelandbrothers.com/cb-con-agg/.