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Plans move forward for Valor Clinic expansion

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    Renderings of two of the three buildings that will be constructed at the Valor Clinic Foundation’s retreat in Kidder Township. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY MARK BAYLIS

Published July 10. 2018 12:41PM

The Valor Clinic Foundation is moving forward on a dedicated retreat site in Kidder Township, with hopes that the expansion to their program will help more veterans deal with life’s challenges.

Valor Clinic founder and CEO Mark Baylis said that the group, which helps veterans through assistance with benefit applications, housing, therapy and medical coverage, has been looking for a suitable area to construct their own retreat facility for years. Benefactors would often earmark donations for such an establishment, Baylis said, though it wasn’t until recently that they were able to find a suitable location.

“We would slide it off to the side and put in into an account and save it up,” he said in regard to the funds.

When a family from the Lake Harmony area decided that they were going to uproot and move to Florida, they offered their land, located just off Route 903 on Meckes Lane, to Valor for half the market value. The organization had to wait until a subdivision issue with the property was resolved with Kidder Township before moving forward, though now that the matter has been resolved, Valor is ready to proceed with their mission.

“This is going to happen quickly, though I don’t know exactly how long it will take to get the project up,” Baylis said. “I’m anticipating with as big a project as this is, the first building will take about 18 months, and we’re building three.”

With some help from volunteers and a bit of luck, Baylis hopes to ramp up construction within the next few months.

“I’m hoping to have the foundation in before the snow flies,” Baylis said, pointing out that construction may be able to continue in the winter if the concrete is laid down by the fall.

The retreat is currently in the planning stages, and various organizations are volunteering their efforts to help make the dream a reality. An architect offered renderings and plans free of charge, and other people and groups are offering their services — zoning, surveying, excavating — either free or at a reduced cost.

“It’s looking good so far. Because we don’t have deep pockets, to see white collar people stepping up to help, it’s awesome,” Baylis said, thanking all those who offer their contributions and services to Valor.

Baylis said that the Kidder Township land will be an integral part of the Veterans Unstoppable program, which has hosted retreats in the past. With their own dedicated land to host the events, Valor will be able to reduce their expense per veteran by about two-thirds, Baylis said.

The three buildings will accommodate a lodge, common areas for activities, a cafeteria, dormitories and a staff area. Thanks to the property’s proximity to Black Run Creek, Valor will be able to continue and possibly expand their fly fishing program. Baylis said that they intend to expand recreational therapy options to include archery, and maybe even deer hunting, in the near future.

“For us, this is great all around — we can reach more people and do more things,” Baylis said. “This is a fist-pumping thing for us.”

Those interested in contributing funding or services to Valor can contact their main office at 570-664-6468.

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