Friday night I had the pleasure of emceeing a Gala event at MGM Grand Hotel, to benefit Piquette Square, an apartment complex that houses homless military veterans in downtown Detroit.
The keynote speaker was J. R. Martinez (Pictured with me), an Iraq war veteran who, at the age of 19, sustained catastrophic injuries when the Humvee he was driving struck a roadside bomb. After spending 3 years in the hospital recovering from his injuries, J. R. decided to devote his life to spreading a positive message to others with motivational speeches to veterans groups schools and other organizations. In 2008, Martinez landed the role of Brot Monroe on the soap opera “All My Children”. He was also the Season 13 winner of “Dancing With the Stars”.
The event was a huge success, raising more than $86,000 for Southwest Solutions, the organization who created Piuette Square and who is responsible for it’s ongoing management.
The Piquette Square project is situated on the same ground where the historic Studebaker factory near New Center was destroyed by fire in 2005. The new four-story brick building, at 6221 Brush, consists of 150 affordable one-bedroom units, as well 11,000 square feet of common area and commercial space. The first tenants moved into Piquette in June 2010.
Piquette Square offers mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, on-site job training, computer labs, educational programs and other support services to help the veterans develop healthy and independent living skills. Southwest Solutions is partnering with numerous human services providers, government agencies and veterans’ groups to provide access to these services. Piquette Square expands Southwest Solutions’ commitment to place homeless veterans in permanent supportive housing, an evidence-based and proven recovery model.
If you are interested in helping to support this highly worthwhile organization, visit their website and learn more.