Bob Davis Veteran Center in Mountain Home joins Arkansas’ Quilt Trail
The Bob Davis Veteran Center in Mountain Home joined the Arkansas Quilt Trail Tuesday morning after receiving a quilt block from Virginia Cornett, coordinator for the Baxter County Quilt Trail.
The still under construction veteran’s center is expected to open in September.
“The name of the quilt block is ‘A Salute to Veterans,’” Cornett said.
The new piece is the 27th to be displayed in the county.
When opened, the center will provide a “coffee hut” for veterans to relax and play games. It will also have sleeping quarters for up to 18 homeless veterans.
“We’ve got job training programs lined up with different businesses in town,” said Joanna Farris, secretary/treasurer for The Bob Davis Veteran Center. “We’ve got arrangements made with the college for them to go to classes. And if you don’t work, you don’t stay here.”
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The veterans center was created by Farris and the Twin Lakes Thunder Rally, known for their annual motorcycle rally in Mountain Home, after the group was approached by an anonymous party seeking to buy a home and provide it to veterans.
Farris said the motorcycle group spent an entire year advertising and raising money for the home before the anonymous party backed out of the deal.
“We had a meeting and decided that we would put in a veteran center,” Farris said. “Otherwise, we couldn’t have another Thunder Rally because our word would be no good.”
The motorcycle group purchased Mountain Home’s former Assembly of God churchin 2019 and has been renovating the old building since.
It’s named after World War II veteran Robert “Bob” Davis, owner of Mountain Home Machine Shop, who was famously known for his ability to fix anything in the Twin Lakes region.
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Many businesses like the Jim Brown Company and Mechanical Plant Services Inc. have donated free labor and materials to the project. Altogether, Thunder Rally has spent around $300,000 renovating the former church.
“Jim Brown did all of the ductwork. Crawford Electric gave us a huge discount,” Farris said. “Mechanical Services out in Gassville did all of the plumbing. They gave us the water heater.”
Renovation of the new center has not been without difficulties, as COVID-19 initially stopped work for a few weeks in 2020.
David Farris, who has helped with much of the renovations, said many of the contractors in Mountain Home are still struggling to find workers.
“Every contractor I’ve talked to is short-handed,” David Farris said. “You can stay home and make more money drawing from government assistance. It slowed everybody down.”
Joanna Farris said the center would feature a game room, coffee hut, and a business center for veterans. It will also sell baked goods and t-shirts to help maintain the building.
The facility also features full bathrooms, bedrooms, an industrial kitchen, dining room, living room, and locker room. A church service and a potluck will be held regularly in the dining room.
“It’s not mandatory that they attend church services when we have them here, but if you don’t attend the service, then you don’t get to eat the potluck when the church ladies bring it,” Farris said.
Thunder Rally is shooting to open the Bob Davis Veteran Center on Sept. 15. The opening will include a ceremony and speeches by Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and retired Army Major Ed Pulido.
Both Griffin and Pulido have had a hand in the center’s creation including Griffin who donated a portion of his leftover campaign funds to the facility.
Pulido, founder of Warriors for Freedom Foundation, assisted Farris in creating the center’s coffee hut after meeting at an insurance event.
“He has a small facility like this,” Farris said. “I think four to six guys. And he was telling me that the coffee did more good for his veterans there to get back into society by hanging out with the veterans that were successful. So, I came back and changed the floor plan on the building and added a coffee hut.”