In Memphis, local veteran Ben Owen started Flanders Fields, a nonprofit with the goal of supporting other veterans with drug and alcohol counseling and employment and housing assistance. With an initiative called Operation Buy Back the Block, Owen is fixing up houses in high narcotic trafficking areas that will allow veterans facing addiction and homelessness to live rent-free. Those who move into the homes will also volunteer with Flanders Fields and will be provided with counseling and resources offered through the organization, ABC24 reports.
“Four years ago, is when I turned myself into a treatment center to start my recovery journey myself. Here I am four years later, being able to give it back,” said Brad Bell, Flanders Fields’ volunteer.
Bell is also a veteran. He works for A-Team Roofing who will be replacing the roof of one of the houses for free. “We’re here because we see the things that are going on and we’re putting action behind it,” said Bell. “I hope to see 20 more of me or 30 more of me or 40 more of me that have been given that second chance and know what it feels like to lead a different life and give it to someone else.”