Grace Veterans Center Opens with Treatment Options for Vets

The Grace Veterans Center hosted an open house Friday morning at its location at 569 Main St. Hyannis.


By Sean F. Driscoll

May 03, 2014

HYANNIS — The location may have changed, but the leaders of Grace Veterans Center are finally doing what they have spent nearly two years aiming for: providing healing services to the veterans of Cape Cod.

The Grace center, a branch of the Cape & Islands Veterans Outreach Center, opened Friday at 569 Main St. It will offer both traditional and holistic healing services for veterans of all eras, including counseling and substance abuse intervention, yoga, massage and reiki, a technique for stress reduction and healing.

The intent, said retired Brig. Gen. Jimmy Dishner, president of the center's advisory board, is to create a calm space where veterans, especially those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, can find peace.

"It's a whole different approach. We're sure this will be helpful to people who left service and brought this thing home with them," Dishner said.

The center originally was planned for 33 Seanest Drive in Mashpee in a building donated by the Grace family, which had used it as the Doreen Grace Brain Center from 1987 until 2007. But a flood in October 2012, just days before the Grace Veterans Center's planned opening, damaged the building and has indefinitely delayed its use.

The setback only expanded the Grace Veterans Center board's ambitions. The Hyannis location is now seen as the first of several possible locations for the center. Along with pushing forward with the Mashpee location, board members hope to open a similar center on the Outer Cape as well.

Starting in Hyannis was low-risk, said retired Lt. Col. Bill Burke, a board member and interim director. The Cape & Islands Veterans Outreach Center, formerly known as the NamVets Association, is next door and already owns the space the Grace center is using. The parent organization's proximity also will help drive veterans who need services through Grace's doors, he said.

"We really wanted to get open so we could start working with veterans," Burke said. According to the center, 23,000 veterans live on the Cape and Islands, including about 1,500 who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. At least 484 have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury or both.

Now the goals will be to get Grace Veterans Center's name in the community through advertising and community partnerships, Burke said.

"We need to let people know we're here," he said.