TAMPA, Fla. -- A group of veterans are on a mission to build a "team house" for the military community in Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Green Beret Association and Special Forces Association Chapter LX is working to raise funds to build the community center to provide a space for military members and veterans to gather.
"There’s over 95,000 veterans in Hillsborough alone. There’s a lot of organizations that want to help the veterans and a lot of them are very small organizations. We’re going to act as that facilitator link up the veterans and those organizations," said Richard Corson, president of the Special Forces Association Chapter LX.
Organizers said the facility would help connect veterans to groups, offer a space for socializing and even be open for the community to rent and serve as a space outside of the confines of the base. It would serve all veterans, regardless of service or whether active duty or retired, and their families.
"We absolutely think it will be kind of a fusion point for the community and the base you know the guys on the other side," said Don Cox, the vice president of the Special Forces Association Chapter LX.
The organization first got the idea in 2004 and purchased a lot less than a mile from MacDill Airforce Base on South Dale Mabry Highway with the hopes of building the special forces headquarters. The renderings were drawn up more than a year ago, including offices and community areas.
"When we came home, we didn’t have a place to go. And when this chapter here in Tampa came up with the idea to have a team house so that the Iraq and Afghanistan warriors coming back and their families have a place to go, our chapter has a lot of Vietnam veterans and we heavily support the team house project," said chapter member Raymond Millaway.
Millaway is a Vietnam veteran.
"It’s more than just the money it’s to take care of the people when they come back," he said.
Organizers estimate the cost at $1.5 million but said money isn't coming in as quickly as hoped. Right now, they still need $1 million.
"Just that we hope that the community will reach out and support us in this endeavor," said Corson.