Breaking ground on a new kind of gathering place for veterans in Minneapolis
July 22, 2021
When he's working with homeless or struggling military veterans at his Minneapolis nonprofit, Every Third Saturday, there's a phrase Tom McKenna uses often. That phrase is "lethal absence of hope." It was coined by a Los Angeles priest who works with former gang members, and it is exactly what McKenna wants these veterans to avoid.
"That's where suicide occurs - when there's nothing left and you have no hope," said McKenna, himself a Marine Corps veteran who has struggled with addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the military. "If you're on the street, you may not have had a shower for a few days. You may not have a change of clothes. You may not have shaved. And you start to feel like you look. We don't want that."
If there's a message that emanates from the architectural renderings of Every Third Saturday's new headquarters near the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, it is this: There is still hope, and that hope can be found inside, where veterans can be with their own tribe. McKenna hopes to create a welcoming, alcohol-free gathering place for the modern-day veteran, trying to form communities similar to those in American Legion or VFW posts.