Leaders push back as veteran retreat center eyes Hope Mills

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

HOPE MILLS, NC -- A potential roadblock may be ahead for a retreat center that specializes in care for servicemembers.

The Lone Survivor Foundation wants to open an equine therapy center in Hope Mills but is getting pushback from some town officials.

ABC11 first introduced you to the Lone Survivor Foundation in October.

The nonprofit from Texas partnered with Horses that Heal in Linden for a new equine therapy retreat center.

At that point, the site was perfect for both Executive Director Terry Jung and the mission.

"It's a wellness and therapeutic environment for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury coming back from combat," Jung said.

But little did the Jung know, he would be preparing for a battle of his own.

The Linden property fell through and he had to start the search over.

"In that search, we came across this one property in Hope Mills that we fell in love with. It's ideal. It's serene and peaceful," said Jung.

But the location didn't sit well with some town commissioners. Jessie Bellflowers said it's not so much the mission, but the method.

Bellflowers said it didn't go through the proper channels. His second issue was the location.

The Town of Hope Mills was looking at refilling the Old Hope Mills Lake as a second water source for Cumberland County. They even hired a firm to see what else could be done.

"We were waiting to see what could be developed on the property as a park for the community," said Bellfowers.

Jung spent most of his Tuesday looking for backup properties. He said small town politics are an inconvenience but not a show-stopper.

"Lone survivors creed is to never quit on those who don't quit on us. And so I'm not quitting until there is good reason," said Jung.

The town of Hope Mills will hold an official public comment session on the matter August 20.

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