|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Membership Notes, March/April 2021|
A Mother’s Bequest
VVA’s North Carolina State Council donated $7,500 to the Veterans Life Center in Butner, N.C., on February 4. The check was presented by NCSC President Rossie Nance, Jr. The donation resulted from a mother’s wish to honor her son, a Vietnam veteran, by helping Vietnam War and other veterans in North Carolina.
“The Veterans Life Center is well recognized in the state of North Carolina,” Nance said. “The State Council’s decision to donate to this facility is in the knowledge that it will be used for veterans in need of counseling and care.”
Well over a year ago Nance became quite concerned when he received a summons to appear in court. To his surprise, the purpose of this summons was to witness the reading of a will—a will that would benefit the state council and North Carolina’s veterans.
The will belonged to Frances Dillworth Young, who wished to honor the memory of her beloved son. “To receive that hand-written will was very humbling,” Nance said. It was his job, as NCSC president, to fulfill the terms of the will.
This mother had left a substantial estate, including a large home. Her two daughters were not interested in benefiting from the estate, and were very happy to help fulfill their mother’s wish to honor their brother.
The will specified that the North Carolina State Council would receive the proceeds of the sale of the woman’s home. Future donations from the estate also would be possible.
Nance began working to honor the family’s wishes. He traveled thousands of miles to manage and prepare the estate. Many hours were spent cataloging and photographing family belongings. Personal possessions such as family albums, photographs, collectibles, coins, and a treasured family Bible were among the many items that Nance packed into boxes in anticipation of reuniting them with the daughters.
Meanwhile, furniture was auctioned and legal work went forward as the estate remained in probate for a year. Fortunately, most of the behind-the-scenes work was completed before the COVID-19 lockdown.
Nance later met with the daughters to return the family possessions. The meeting, he said, was emotional for them all. The daughters were grateful, relieved, and had a sense of closure upon receiving the family treasures they had not seen for many years, Nance said. “The daughters upheld the will of the mother because of their brother.”
The $7,500 donation to the Veterans Life Center resulted from a collaboration between the North Carolina State Council and the board of directors of the center.
The Veterans Life Center is a state-of-the-art residential care facility for recent veterans having difficulty reintegrating into civilian life. Services such as life skills training, behavioral health therapy, and spiritual and family counseling are available. Programs are customized to fit the needs of each resident.
The Veterans Life Center has a full commercial kitchen, fitness center, sleeping rooms, and library. Professional staff help veterans find personally satisfying roles in society. The 9.5-acre, 40,000-square-foot facility was completed last year.
John Turner, a decorated Iraq War veteran, created the Veterans Life Center. Through perseverance, he gained the support of community, financial, and political leaders who have helped to turn his dream into a reality.
“The Board of Directors of the Veterans Life Center and the Board and Officers of NCVVA all agreed to make this donation happen,” Nance said, “I didn’t do this alone. We ended up with a great conclusion.”
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