By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Oakwood center for veterans falls through
Nonprofit looking for other property, developing trucking program
10232017 TURK 0002.jpg
Keith Laseter, executive director of Bridging the Gap, during a tour of the former home of Frank Turk, a Korean War veteran, in Oakwood, on Oct. 19, 2017. Laseter's plans to convert the house into a transitional home for veterans in need of housing have fallen through. Laseter said he is looking for other property to locate a home for veterans. - photo by David Barnes

Plans for a transitional home for veterans in Oakwood have fallen through.

Efforts to turn the home that belonged to the late Frank Turk, a Korean War veteran and Oakwood businessman, into the Turk Center didn’t pan out between Turk’s estate and Keith Laseter, head of veterans-based Bridging the Gap Foundation.

“He had good intentions. I think he just bit off more than he could chew,” said Todd Turk, Frank’s son and a 26-year veteran himself.

Laseter said he just needed more time to fulfill his vision for the project. “It would have been beautiful,” he said.

He had success early on, getting Oakwood City Council’s OK not to charge the nonprofit organization inspection and permitting fees for work at the home on Hilldale Road, which is off McEver Road.

“It’s a very worthwhile purpose,” City Manager Stan Brown said at the time. “I think it’s good that our community is recognized as a place that welcomes veterans and tries to assist them as they move forward in their life.”

Laseter had envisioned rooms housing veterans and using a spot in the backyard where veterans could grow vegetables.

Counseling services also were planned, and Laseter had hoped to start a program enabling veterans to train service dogs for other veterans in need.

Asked if he had a design or blueprint for the project, Laseter, an Army veteran himself, pointed to his head and said, “Up here.”

Laseter said he is looking for other property to locate a home for veterans.

“It’s so important for us veterans to have a private place that we trust instead of depending on the (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs),” he said.

In another effort, Laseter is trying to raise $25,000 to buy a truck and trailer for a program helping veterans start their own trucking business.

How to help

Bridging the Gap Foundation accepts donations through its website, btg-foundation.org.

Regional events