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Veterans Foundation to have Cape Coral opening on 9/11

By Staff | Sep 3, 2009

The Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation, a newly formed non-profit organization founded and operated by veterans, will introduce its new facility to the public with a day long event on Friday, Sept. 11.

The foundation’s facility, located in two buildings at 3100-3108 Del Prado Blvd. (Del Prado Outlet Centers), will be the hub of a very ambitious, multi-faceted mission first envisioned by founder Ralph A. Santillo more than two years ago.

Among the services offered at the new facility will be an office center with free wi-fi, free use of computers, copiers, fax machines, and telephones for veterans seeking employment, education, training and contact with family and friends. Counseling and networking for similar needs will also be available, as will connection and guidance with finding a number of existing beneficial programs for veterans.

A conference space and an area for private, yet informal counseling are also available all free of charge. A large social area with couches and several comfy recliners, lots of books and magazines and a big TV is provided for vets who may want to get together for chat, reading, watching a game or a movie. Among the plans are an occasional backyard BBQ, inexpensive breakfasts and lunches, a weekly pizza night and more.

“It’s like a grown up version of the tree-house kind of place we had where we could hangout with our buddies when we were kids,” said Santillo.

Santillo is also actively working to arrange vocational training and employment in areas such as personal care for veterans, and then pair those individuals together with vets that need care. The organization is even involved in housing accommodations that will bring both care-giver and recipient together.

A museum of sorts, where members and friends can share and display their service memorabilia will be part of the facility. A new thrift shop on site will offer great bargains to the public and help fund the foundations services.

With an increasing need for veterans services and decreasing resources to provide them, the services to be provided by the Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation are critical, especially in Southwest Florida. The Veterans Administration and related organizations are very enthusiastic and supportive of the new foundation’s efforts.

Staffing is entirely by volunteers and funding is entirely by donation and Foundation membership dues. Individuals or businesses wishing to donate time, services, thrift shop items, service memorabilia, or funding are encouraged to contact Ralph Santillo as soon as possible at 239-541-8704 or 239-910-5699 or by email at Ralphandrew@embarqmail.com.

There are also sponsorship opportunities for the day of the Open House event. You can find out more about the Foundation at www.veterans-foundation.info Tours of the new facility will be available all day on 9/11, with a variety of events from 10 a.m. until at least 7 p.m.