Welcome Home to the First Resident


The board members share a “Welcome Home!” cake with John, the first resident.


It took three and a half years of planning, hard work, and prayer, but it’s been worth it. There were veterans who showed interest in living in the Village starting in November 2014. One veteran came out to stay, but he lasted one night, but he was gone in the morning, preferring to live in his car. Another possible resident preferred to live alone instead of sharing the cabin with another veteran. Perhaps there will be single resident cabins in the future, but for now, two residents will share the first cabin. The Village is there to help homeless veterans, however, some veterans are not ready to be part of the Village. 
On Monday, April 20th, with the offer of a warm bed, hot meals in his belly, and a peaceful, safe place to live, Seaman John Farnan, Navy, became the first resident of the Village. During the week, he’s been to the doctor for a check up, gotten settled into the cabin, and received some much needed rest. He’ll have a few more appointments to take care of health issues, but overall, John is in reasonable good health.

The board members had a good time sharing cake with John and getting to know him. George, the board president, had fun swapping stories, making everyone laugh. If you get a chance to stop by, come meet John and hang out on the porch. There may not be cake, but there’s always hospitality.


Kroger Community Rewards 64393 / PFC Richard L. Vanover Veterans Village

The Village (via John) applied to participate in the Kroger Community Rewards Program and was accepted. I wasn’t sure how it works, so I checked out the Kroger’s web sight. You sign up with the Kroger company by registering your rewards card and then Kroger’s will give a portion of what you spend (it comes out of their profits) to the Village. Simple!

There’s a link at krogercommunityrewards.com. Just make sure you have your Kroger Rewards card handy. If you don’t have one, they’re free at any Kroger store. You’ll also need the organization number (NPO) which is 64393, and the organization name: PFC Richard L. Vanover Veterans Village.

I’ve got my Kroger Rewards card registered and I hope you’ll do the same. If you would like to know about other ways you can help build the Village, give them a call or shoot them an email. The folks there enjoy telling what progress they’ve made and where they are headed next. It’s a nice drive if you want make a little road trip to see them.

You can contact the Village:
Mail: Attn. John Vanover – 3080 Elrod Road – Somerset , Kentucky 42503
Email: vanover3@hotmail.com
Phone: (606) 416-4543

Dogs Of the Village

Pull into the driveway at the Village and chances are, you’ll have a welcoming committee at your vehicle door before you are in park. Don’t worry, they’re friendly, loveable attention hogs in canine form. All visitors are welcomed with gusto if they see you arrive. They’re just happy to hear a kind word and get a friendly pat on the head before heading off for another adventure or plopping down in the yard for their next nap.


ZELLA is the original farm dog. During the first fundraising event for the Village, she was quite plump and lazy due to being ready to birth her pups. She had a large litter of what folks around the farm refered to as “bagels”. They were cute little things and homes were found quickly for them. Zella likes to go camping when she has the chance.

Then we have BELLA, who’s part German Shepard mixed with polite food thief. Bella would like to be a lap dog, but only half of her will fit into your lap. The rest hangs over. She’s a lover for sure. I think the only thing she loves more than attention is food. If you don’t secure it, your food will come up missing. Prior to coming to live at the farm, she got so excited about birthday cake, she took it off the counter almost as soon as it came out of the oven, set the pan on the floor, ate the contents and licked it clean with no mess left behind. Her owner found the clean pan on the floor with no sign on the cake other than on Bella’s breath.

RASCAL is a scruffy little mixed breed dog who used to visit from the neighboring farm. When John and Lisa found out the neighbors were moving, they arranged to adopt “scruffy” and he’s fit right in with the girls. Smallest of the three, he’ll steal your heart.


Cabin One: Giving Thanks for Progress

It’s mid-November, a time when the Village celebrates the birthdays of family members and friends. It’s a time when thoughts of holiday preparations are foremost in the minds and hearts of everyone. It’s also a time when work slows down as volunteers spend more time with their own families. The Village is blessed with volunteers who still give, even if it’s not physical labor. This past week resulted in a load of items being donated by kind folks out of the Lexington area.

Despite the onset of winter weather, things are steadily happening at the Village. John and Lisa are waiting for reclining chairs for the living area to be delivered. A request has been made to a local business for new beds With hope that they will be put in place If the weather cooperates, volunteer workers will have the porch railed and new steps installed by the end of the month, if not before Thanksgiving.


The bathroom is getting decked out with fresh towels, a new shower curtain, shelving to hold towels, a rug, trash can, mirror, and a few organizer bins under the sink to hold items for the residents. Things needed to finish the space are hooks to hang used towels, a toilet paper holder, and globes for the lights over the sink.

An area rug was donated, which will help keep the living area warmer by adding a layer to the flooring. It’s nice to have a soft rug under your feet while relaxing or watching television, and hopefully the veterans will feel comfortable enough to kick off their shoes. Along with the rug, a side table and tv stand, as well as an older style tv were given for use in the unit. It’s not a priority, but perhaps a newer, more modern set will be donated for the veterans to enjoy.

The kitchenette has been decked out with knobs; a coat of polyurethane is planned so the wood is protected. Shelving is being installed above the sink for dish storage, and a fold down table is being considered for the area due to space constraints. Dishes, silverware, some drinking glasses, and storage containers have been donated, but the Village can always use more. They also have a small rug for the sink area as well as dish towels and clothes to help the residents keep their area clean. Currently the Village is trying to locate a refrigerator and microwave.

Cabinets for the bedrooms have drawers, shelves, and a small hanging section in them. There also is lock so the resident can secure important items. Residents will have room to add a small chair to their room, if they wish, or rearrange to make it more homey and suit their needs. Each resident will be furnished a pillow, sheet set and quilt when they first move in. The Village is looking for donations of extra pillows and bed linens (twin bed size do) so there are extras as needed. Blankets are also needed, as a sheet and quilt won’t be warm enough during the winter.

Knowing the residents will be coming in soon, I know John, Lisa, and the Village Board of Directors are thankful for all the help that has come over the past few years. Volunteerism comes in many forms. Through raising funds, gathering supplies, physical labor, or just being a sounding board, the Village is becoming a reality. And even though I know not all those who volunteered will see this, I just want to thank you all on behalf of my friends at the Village. Without you, there’s no way this can happen.


Getting Ready: Cabin One

imageCabin One was purchased in 2012 and moved to the village in time for the first on site fundraising event. It was a used unit, and as such, there was a lot to be done to make it inhabitable. It had two bedrooms, a shared main living area and bathroom. Extensive work needed to be done to gut the unit and rebuild it. It needed to have the inside walls rebuilt and the ceiling dropped so it could be insulated properly. John and volunteers worked as funding allowed to purchase building supplies.

Occassionally work comes to a stop on building the village due to working around volunteers work schedules or the weather being bad. I believe that if John had the funding and manpower, everything would be done already.

image The farm had a trailer and an outbuilding that were not salvageable. With the help of volunteers, neighbors, friends, and teens looking to do a little service work, the old buildings were cleared and Cabin One moved to utilize the septic tank, water lines, and electrical hookups in place. This saved thousands of dollars and many hours of labor due to not having to dig and install new lines or tank. Materials that could be recycled, reused, where put aside or hauled off.

it took a couple of weekends for volunteers  to pick up all the debris once the buildings where dismantled. Insulation and other light weight materials got caught in gusts of wind and blew about the farm.


Between working their day jobs and taking care of their own family homes, folks also dedicated many hours of hard work and money to preparing Cabin One. Volunteers include kind hearted neighbors, friends who would spend a day or a weekend, and fellow veterans who believe in the dream and want to see it happen.

Once the walls were completed and the bathroom installed, things started to happen faster. After a weekend of dedicated scrubbing and putting finishing touches on the electrical and water connections, final inspection was scheduled. There was a bit of an issue with water pressure, but that was quickly resolved and the under pinning of the trailer was set in place.

imageLisa, John, and a few volunteers made a list of things needed to furnish the home, and a few items that had been donated were put in place. There are twin beds, but no frames. There is a dressing cabinet for each resident (but you’ll read about that in another post). Using donated furniture and other home items where appropriate, and purchasing new or receiving new items as donations, things are coming together.

Donations thus far: towels and wash clothes for each veteran to have their own set, 4 person set of Correll dishes, silverware for 4, some bedding and new pillows for each veteran, 1 night stand/side table, storage containers for in the kitchenette, bedspreads, wall art, kitchen linens, and other various items that this blogger does not know of at the time of this posting.

if you would like to get involved please contact John Vanover at vanover3@hotmail.com. Or visit the Village’s Facebook page: Vanover Veterans Village.

Vanover Veterans Village: Making a Dream Real

Vanover Veterans Village is a non-profit organization and was created on December 6, 2011. It is named after Richard L. Vanover, the founder’s father, who was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War Veteran. He was severely wounded on Labor Day of 1950. Pfc. Richard L. Vanover received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his actions on that day.

It is John Vanover’s desire to honor his father and other veterans by building a place where single veterans age 62 or older, who have no family, caretakers, or permanent housing can live. This is an alternative to an assisted living facility and fees will be income based, with homeless veterans having priority. The Village is committed to providing senior veterans a dignified place to call home in a family atmosphere.

Unit one - May 2012

Unit one – May 2012

Village and Unit One Dedication - May 2012

Village and Unit One Dedication – May 2012

Three meals a day will be provided, and transportation will be available for appointments and recreational activities. The organization relies heavily on private and corporate donations, fund-raisers and in-kind gifts and will not seek any government funding. The Veterans Village will strive to be self-sustaining by raising beef, poultry, eggs, meat and maintaining a community garden. The Veterans Village will initially include one duplex cabin and dining facility. Other cabins will be added as funding becomes available.

Unit One - moved in 2013 to make use of existing water, septic, and electrical connections.

Unit One – moved in 2013 to make use of existing water, septic, and electrical connections.

By May, 2012, John had located 2 bedroom living unit that he wanted to fix up to use as the first cabin unit. With the help of volunteers, a band stand was built, the first cabin was on the property, and fundraising efforts were in full swing. The warm spring weekend included a poker run, musicians, a ribbon cutting ceremony, a dunking tank, a bouncy slide for the kids, special speakers, and some hardworking volunteers.

The start of Cabin One being made liveable.

The start of Cabin One being made livable.

Cabin One is almost finished.

Cabin One is almost finished.

Fast forward to October 2014. It took longer than expected to gut the trailer and rebuild it so it would be a safe home for the inhabitants. After various trips to get supplies, consultations with professionals, waiting for funding to come in, dealing with weather, and working around normal everyday life, the first living unit is ready for finishing touches. The unit has electricity and running water. Once furniture is added as well as some personal touches to make it homey, it will be ready to live in.