Clark County’s Trapp Elementary School south of Winchester sat vacant for several years, but on Friday it was a bustle of activity as dozens of volunteers mopped and scrubbed, tore out old building materials and replaced ceiling tiles.
Lady Veterans Connect is transforming the 22,000-square-foot school building into a home for female veterans and their children.
Team Depot, a volunteer group of Home Depot associates, provided about 40 volunteers from 13 stores in Kentucky, southern Indiana and West Virginia who worked on the day-long project. They will return in the coming months to help with painting and further renovations.
Phyllis Abbott, the co-founder of Lady Veterans Connect, said the organization will provide housing, life skills training, financial literacy classes and other services for up to 35 female veterans and their children from throughout the country.
She said a high percentage of women leave the military with post-traumatic stress disorder, along with scars from sexual trauma experienced during their service, and there are few organizations dedicated to serving them.
“The primary thing is just to love them,” Abbott said. “Because that’s what they need more than anything, love and value.”
Eight classrooms are being turned into sleeping quarters, and the cafeteria, with its jungle-themed mural, will become a kitchen where the women cook their own meals. The gym will provide space for community events, and the playground is still waiting for children to play on it.
Abbott envisions a garden where the women will grow their own food, seating in the wooded areas out back for quiet reflection and cottage industries operating out of the home to help support the program.
A nurse and social worker will work there full-time, she said.
But the project has a long way to go before it can house the women that Lady Veterans Connect hopes will one day live there.
Abbott said that replacing the furnace alone could cost $250,000 to $270,000, and the organization is trying to raise money to complete the renovations and open the house by next summer.
CREDIT HERALD LEADER LEXINGTON