CONYERS - Members of Newton-Rockdale Veterans Inc. announced this week that real estate agent Jo Carter-Harbin has been selected to serve as project director for the nonprofit organization. Primarily, she said Thursday, her job duties will be focused on fundraising efforts to build a $350 million mixed-use residential complex to house veterans and their families.
A Rockdale County native, Carter-Harbin owns and operates Carter's Galaxy of Homes, an independent real estate brokerage company.
Carter-Harbin said she first became involved with Newton-Rockdale Veterans when members approached her in June about acquiring property for the 500-acre campus.
"My heart strings were pulled," she said. "Veterans have given so much for my daily freedom, and for your daily freedom, but I've never heard the veterans ask us to give in return."
Carter-Harbin explained that the project is an attempt for local veterans to take matters into their own hands. "When I first heard of this project, my first thoughts were that the VA can take care of that. But, I think the Veterans Administration is dealing with more than they can. They are just bombarded," she said.
"We're going to hold hands with the VA, but they can't handle it all."
According to Newton-Rockdale Veterans Chairman Oma Parnell, Carter-Harbin's selection came after an extensive search, saying the board of directors is "delighted to announce this appointment."
"Ms. Harbin has been a state and local community leader for many years, a successful entrepreneur and has previous experience heading nonprofit fundraising
initiatives. Her accomplishments in the local business community, coupled with her enthusiasm for our organization, made this decision a simple one in the end," he said.
Plans for the campus call for single-family homes, assisted living centers, nursing home care and additional care for special-needs veterans. Housing would be constructed on a central campus with ancillary services including medical offices, pharmacy, emergency medical care, physical fitness/therapy, a business and conference center, library, dining, security, chapel, laundry and social and recreational outlets.
A site for the campus has not yet been selected.
"Our project will be a welcome addition to whatever community we ultimately call home," Carter-Harbin said.
"We will bring employment and growth opportunities, add to the local economy, and attract dignitaries from around the world to our first-of-a-kind facilities. Our goal is to have centers like this across the nation, so no veteran with needs ever does without. But for now, we need help to launch the model."
Since 2004, Newton-Rockdale Veterans has provided free transportation for veterans in need of health care services, among other care-giving initiatives.
For more information on Newton-Rockdale Veterans Inc., call 770-490-6287 or Carter-Harbin's cell phone at 770-778-4045, or e-mail DPH2005@bellsouth.net.
Contributions may be sent by mail to: Newton-Rockdale Veterans Inc., P.O. Box 81143, Conyers, GA 30013.