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Heroes’ Mile Veteran Recovery and Transition Center, a for-profit recovery center dedicated to helping veterans exclusively, with programs developed for veterans and services delivered by veterans, is having a grand-opening event Friday, May 31, at its facility on Big John Drive, east of DeLand.

Guest speakers will include U.S. Rep. (U.S. Army, retired) Michael Waltz of the 6th Congressional District of Florida; U.S. Rep. (U.S. Army, retired) Brian Mast of the 18th Congressional District of Florida; Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) and U.S. Army Capt. Danny Burgess; and Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood.

A full slate of events beginning at 3 p.m. will culminate just before 5 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting hosted by the West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce. A reception and tours will follow from 5 to 7 p.m.

As a patient-centric center, Heroes’ Mile follows veterans through recovery and into a new, healthy way of living. Unlike other recovery centers, Heroes’ Mile not only treats addiction but also treats invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military sexual trauma (MST).

The Heroes’ Mile facility is owned and managed by Oglethorpe Inc., a national hospital-management company headquartered in Tampa. The company has recovery and behavioral health centers in Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas and Nevada, according to its website. All of them treat veterans, but Heroes’ Mile is the only one dedicated solely to treating veterans.

Lt. Gen. (U.S. Army, retired) Bill Lennox, former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a current Oglethorpe Veteran Ambassador, plans on hiring all veterans as staff members. A total workforce of about 50 employees is planned, a company spokeswoman said.

The facility’s management team includes: David Cartagena, director of programs, who is a certified addictions professional, a certified mental health professional and an Army veteran; James Lynam, director of operations, who has worked in substance abuse and mental health treatment for more than 22 years and is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps; and Ryan Barrows, lead admission, outreach minister and training specialist, who served in the U.S. Navy.

Heroes’ Mile Veteran Recovery and Transition Center is licensed by the State of Florida, accredited by The Joint Commission, and approved as a provider of community-care options for veterans receiving care in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The 45-bed center, located at 2775 Big John Drive, is on 10 acres of secluded land. The center will offer a full range of inpatient and outpatient programs for veterans struggling with mental health and substance use.


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