Freedom Station helps wounded heroes in transition - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Freedom Station helps wounded heroes in transition

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A local organization is making a big difference in the lives of some of America's wounded warriors. 

Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station, a non-profit, offers transitional housing in Golden Hill to troops after their service providing them assistance during recovery and independence.

“To get out of the military, injured, not knowing exactly what you are going to do or where you are going to go, what school,” said retired Marine Ignacio Castro.

His left leg was amputated from an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.

He and 11 other wounded veterans at Freedom Station are living in their new homes, going to school, paying rent and bills. Currently they are all Marines.

“You have your own personal space and you are in a community with veterans,” said retired Marine Scout Sniper Sgt. Povas Miknaitis.

The community started with Warrior Foundation that transformed 12 cottages and bungalows in 2011. There is a white picket fence, a yard, with an 800 square foot one bedroom, one bathroom, a dining room, kitchen and living room for wounded veterans. 

“I don't know if you can put into words what it [Freedom Station] is. It's a heart, it's a beginning and an end,” said Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station Director Judy Sexton.

Warriors can live in the community as long as they are going to school. Povas has been living in his home since it opened in 2011 and has seen how warriors adjusts to the transition.

“Maybe it's a week or maybe it's a couple of months, maybe it's longer, you can see that everyone takes their own time and transitioning into your own home,” said Povas.

While Freedom Station is the ‘missing link' between military and civilian life, the community brings camaraderie. Neighbors are wounded veterans, some are single, double or triple amputees, head injuries that struggle with PTSD.

“We can all relate to each other with something significant that's happened in the pastor something that's happening now with a fellow wounded vet,” said Castro.

The assistance relies on volunteers like Sexton, “They are a gift to this country."

However, the humbled wounded warriors say the real gift is the volunteers.

“People willing to give up their time,” said retired Marine Sgt. Brian Riley. “They are not getting paid, they just come here and go through and help us, reminds us that we have to give back as well."

Many of the wounded veterans have moved out, landed a job or got married and finished school. All have been success stories.

Warrior Foundation started in 2004 providing troops with quality of life items, support services and transitional housing.

To learn more about the organization that relies solely on volunteers and how to get involved click here.

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