An Air Force vet and a former cop had a small idea that’s pretty big.
By Craig Winston
The “tiny house” craze that is sweeping the nation gave Air Force veteran and former police officer Donnie Davis an idea. He wanted to provide tiny homes to veterans who have PTSD. Davis doesn’t discuss his PTSD but acknowledges that his work as a police officer and an honor guard at countless military funerals left him with what he refers to as “stuff.”
According to Davis, he took a pledge in the military and as a police officer. That pledge was never to leave someone behind. He refers to it as a pledge that doesn’t go away when you retire or move on. As a result, he decided to take action and move forward with his tiny house idea.
Davis, pastor at Amazing Grace Ministries in New Jersey, and his friend Ron Koller established a nonprofit called Amazing Grace Operation Safe Haven. They purchased a 277-acre abandoned campground in Franklinville, New Jersey, and raised enough money to purchase four micro homes. Operation Safe Haven has relied on volunteers and local businesses to prepare the land and to do all of the installation and finishing work on the houses. This effort has included laying foundations and equipping the 300-square-foot homes with new furnishings and household items.
Davis hopes that the complex will eventually house 60 veterans who will be able to live there free for up to two years. Operation Safe Haven will be working with federal, state, and local agencies to provide services to veterans. They will have access to mental health services, peer counseling, and job search assistance. If all goes as planned, the group will also offer some apartments soon in Millville, New Jersey.