Editor’s Note: Bastion is a program dedicated to providing homes for returned veterans. Bastion broke ground on June 21, 2016, and offered 19 double family homes, 73 residents, and 196 combined years of service. They started the second phase of their construction in April of 2018. They continue to build and support our veterans, and in response to COVID-19, they’ve created a Virtual Wellness Center with free services to support the greater community through the pandemic. On this Veteran’s Day we honor and thank them and all that work in service of others.
Who: Dylan Tête, founder of Bastion
Film by: UNO student and documentary filmmaker Steve Juliff
Respecting and honoring veterans is something many people talk about, think about, and say that something needs to be done about. One man – along with the help of a supportive community – is doing something about how veterans are looked after once they have been released and discharge. It’s called Bastion, and it’s happening in New Orleans.
Bastion is an intentional community for returning warriors and families with life-long rehabilitative needs. There will be 78 residential units and a wellness center. The home for Bastion will be in the heart of Gentily.
The purpose of Bastion is to provide a community that focuses around a vulnerable population with friends and neighbors that live in the community itself and give support. That kind of model for community is seen as the key to healing and success, according to Dylan Tête (founder of Bastion Community), especially when it comes to PTSD and reintegration for returning veterans and families that need rehabilitative services.
Currently, Tête sees a gap in the continuum of care for the veteran population. There is supportive housing and a plethora of service programs, but what he has seen happen over the last ten years is that someone who is injured on the battlefield is rehabbed for another year and then dismissed and discharged with little or no support. Many of the veterans become isolated and many of them take their own lives.
Tête knows this from experience, and when he was in his own reintegration, he turned toward Knights of Heroes – a group that offers summer adventure camp for boys that lost their fathers in Afghanistan. Among Tête’s own battles of coming home from Iraq, he wanted to give up and take his own life. Working with the kids in Knights of Heroes taught him a new expression of courage, which is the courage to live on. Those kids helped him remember that, and that is a large inspiration behind starting Bastion.
Bastion a place that fills in the gap. Tête feels that they can model a new way of implementing supportive housing. Right now they are focused on Bastion number 1, and there are big dreams to have Bastion be successful in New Orleans and spread the lessons learned there to the rest of the population – in all areas. It’s about finding the common ground, and that is what Bastion is looking for – a common ground on which to meet and help each other.