I ran into my friend Dylan at Starbucks last week and remembered the awesome project that he’s spent the greater part of the last decade developing and diligently working to bring to fruition.
Dylan Tete is a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran. After moving to New Orleans in 2005, he led FEMA housing construction projects after Katrina and served as the head of planning for the New Orleans Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. He took his idea for an intentional community for wounded warriors to Propeller and was invited to join their Social Venture Accelerator Program. Likewise, he was awarded a fellowship with The Mission Continues to continue to develop the Bastion initiative.
Dylan worked alongside my friend and fellow veteran Marshall Hevron, a Marine who served in Iraq and later as military advisor to Senator Mary Landrieu (a job I would also later hold), to rebuild New Orleans’ oldest Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post. They revived an organization founded by WWII and Korean War veterans and modernized it for Iraq and Afghanistan vets, and today the post is thriving. I first met Dylan several years ago when I was spreading the word about the Truman National Security Project among a small group of young Louisiana veterans.
Today, Bastion is a nonprofit organization that will soon break ground in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood on a planned community where young, injured veterans in need of rehabilitation and care can live comfortably with their families.What makes Bastion unique is that half of the units will be reserved for young veterans while the other half will be open to residents 55 years or older who commit to helping the veterans and their families with everyday needs. The development will leverage the power of intentional community to support these vets and reinvigorate a part of the city decimated by a London Avenue Canal breach caused by Hurricane Katrina. In a time when it sometimes seems that the sense of community is at an all-time low in many of our cities, this is truly a special project. I can’t wait to see its completion.