PLAINFIELD, NJ- A meet and greet breakfast to raise renovation funds for the Yates House for Military Veterans took place at the Senior Center on East Front Street on June 22.
The Yates House for Military Veterans was founded by Andre Yates, son of the late World War II Army Private/Sergeant Rufus Turner Yates. It is the goal of Yates and his organization to provide housing to Union County veterans and their families. Yates has purchased and renovated homes in the area but upon stumbling upon the Abbott Mansion, a historic building on Central Avenue that had been vacant for the past 10 years after being utilized as a nursing home, in Plainfield almost miraculously, he decided this venture would be non-profit.
“As I’m going down Central Avenue I passed this amazing structure,” said Yates, “and I said what can I do with this property to better the community?”
Aside from Yates there were also other notable community speakers. The mayor of Plainfield Sharon Robinson-Briggs was the first to take the podium at the meet and greet followed by John Cambell who is running for general assembly of the 22nd District of New Jersey.
“It is vital for the growth of the community to provide services for each group,” said Briggs. “Please know that the city of Plainfield is at your service.”
The only veteran to speak at the podium as well as a well known individual in the realm of veteran affairs Leroy Sampson, asked all the veterans in the room as well as the widows or wives of veterans to stand and tell the audience their name, rank, war they served in, when they served and what branch of the military they were from.
“I served in Vietnam for two tours,” said Sampson, “today I can stand and say I’m proud to be a veteran. If in anyway you need help call my name.”
After the speakers were done talking and the attendees finished their plates a table was set up to take any contributions to the renovation of the property. Aside from just providing veterans with shelter the Yates House will also serve its residents with case management, legal services, transportation,daily meal services, medical care, job training and education including culinary training in the property’s already built-in commercial kitchen.
“I know the life of a veteran because my dad was a veteran,” said Yates. “There is no veteran housing in Union County at this point and there are individuals in this room today that are homeless. There is no greater joy than when you help someone.”
To make a donation to the Yates House for Military Veterans contact Doris Pearson 1-973-704-2722.