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Alabaster Veterans Center holds ribbon cutting

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer 

ALABASTER – After initially being approved back in June 2020, the Alabaster Veterans Center held its grand opening and ribbon cutting event on Tuesday, May 4.

This center came about as a partnership between the Goodwin-Lee American Legion Post 138 and the city as a way to provide a center that would be able to serve veterans across Alabaster and the Shelby County area.

Alabaster Veterans Center President Paul Gonthier said that this building would serve as a starting point to allow the more than 12,000 veterans who live in Shelby County to receive access and support to resources that could greatly benefit them.

“The mission of the center is simple: provide no cost resources and assistance to all veterans and for veteran-related needs. It is my vision that one day veterans will utilize this center to find resources needed to navigate the many resources that are available. The potential for such an institution is endless,” Gonthier explained. “As long as we have people whose hearts and minds are in this we will be successful. “

Gonthier also expressed that as of last week the center had been designated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, meaning that donations to the center are tax deductible.

Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield spoke at the event to express how grateful that the city was able to provide such a resource to empower local veterans.

“The last time I was in this building was the last city council meeting we held in here almost 10 years ago. Not too long ago, Paul and the members of Post 138 inquired about the use of this facility. As the city council, we were a little naïve about what resources our veterans needed to be effective members of our community,” Brakefield explained. “As we have moved through this process and heard the ideas and the concepts it was a real easy decision to give up this space and allow a veterans center to start a process here. I say start, because I hope and pray that you are not here long. I hope that this grows and investments are there in the future to have an upgraded facility. This is a great place to start and bring resources for our veterans to help them with whatever they may need.”

Commissioner of Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs W. Kent Davis attended the ribbon cutting to express the state’s support of the center and how partnerships between public and private organizations make these types of resources available.

“I get to work with the 400,000 veterans that we have in the state. That means that 1 in 10 Alabamians is a veteran,” Davis said. “Over 12,000 of those live right here in Shelby County. I think of a center like this opening up is the wave of the future. This was the product of public and private partnerships along with various organization who came together. I hope that this center serves as a great example for not only the city of Alabaster and the state, but for Veterans Affairs throughout the nation in general.”

The Alabaster Veterans Center will offer a wide range of resources available to veterans and their family members. More information about these resources as well as contact information can be found at Alabasterveterans.org.

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