On Veterans Day, an estimated 50 people attended the opening of the Forget Me Not Veterans Park, a planned community of tiny homes on 22 acres of private land about 30 miles south of Socorro.
“It revitalizes us (seeing so many people). As I said, we didn’t let politics get in the way. Everybody’s basic need is what we are concerned about. They (the attendees) want to take care of one another. We see that here,” Daun Medaris said.
Medaris, a U.S. Air Force retiree and commander of the Socorro Chapter of Disabled Veterans, isn’t much for red tape. He, along with his wife, Darlene, and Roxann Scott, are funding the ambitious project that is moving along at almost break-neck speed.
In an October 20 article in El Defensor Chieftain, Medaris told writer John Larson he hoped to have a 28×60 building onsite and at least three tiny homes that will house veterans.
Medaris and his team delivered, and on Veterans Day, open-house tours of the tiny houses were underway. One home is designed to accommodate a married couple, and the other two slightly smaller homes are for single veterans. They are the start of Medaris’s long-time dream.
All of the houses feature a front porch to allow someone to take in the beauty of the surroundings of the former Pedro Armendaris Land Grant.
It’s been a crazy scramble, but Medaris has found people willing to help with the project designed to give a helping hand to Socorro County homeless veterans.
“We want them to succeed, but you can’t help somebody that doesn’t want to help themselves. If you have a drug problem, we’ll start with that. We’ve got counselors to meet with you and help you get better if you want to get better. This is your place,” Medaris said.
Forget Me Not Veterans Park is located in a remote area in the Highland Springs subdivision about two miles off the San Marcial exit (124). The site offers peaceful surroundings for veterans with PTSD and other combat-related disorders.
Medaris admits that funding the project will be difficult, but part of the plan with the tiny homes is to teach veterans, a pay-it-forward type of program that will also teach them different skills.
The idea is to build more than tiny homes.
“We’re hoping the veterans can stay here as long as they want. They don’t have any limitations. What we’d like them to get into eventually is helping us build the homes for the next person. We don’t have a budget for buildings. We don’t have budgets for workers, but let’s teach them a skill. Let them work on their pride and who they are and build them again,” Medaris said.
Attendees met in the Glory Bound Independent Baptist Church of San Marcial. It will be joined by a similar building donated by the City of Socorro.