Move clouds future for North Las Vegas veteran-aid group

A 24-hour operation aimed at helping to prevent suicide among veterans via therapy and social activities may have to shut its doors after 2 1/2 years, during its busiest time of the year.

The owners of Forgotten Not Gone, disabled Air Force veterans Peter and Kelishia Guidry, received notice in November to move out of their Clayton Park living and office space near Clayton Street and Gowan Road, where they say they have served 2,500 veterans this year. Arik Raiter, a part-owner and manager of Clayton Park, said he originally gave them until Dec. 22 to move but granted their request for a 30-day extension — required by law if someone being displaced is disabled.

Now the Guidrys are looking for a location where they can both live and work — preferably in North Las Vegas, where many of their clients reside.

The move is problematic for them because of their physical limitations, they said, as well as for the veterans they serve. Veterans have 24/7 access to the Forgotten Not Gone headquarters, where they can talk through issues with the Guidrys and go on weekend tricycle rides aimed at helping with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“(We moved to a living and work space) because we wanted to be accessible,” Kelisiha said. “Crisis doesn’t (happen during) banking hours, so normally when veterans have an issue, it is after hours.”

The Guidrys said closing their operation for even a few hours could harm veterans during the holiday season, when depression and anxiety rates rise.

Michael Betts, who regularly visited Forgotten Not Gone for a few years before moving to Virginia, said the organization set itself apart.

“They are truly there 24/7 and they have never closed their doors on me, whether it’s been two, three or four in the morning. They’re truly here. … Their sole purpose for doing this is to get veterans out of the house,” he said.

Teresa Ulring, who said she served in the Air Force for 20 years, has been riding tricycles with Forgotten Not Gone since summer 2016. She said she joined the group because she was struggling with depression and isolation. Ulring, of North Las Vegas, participates almost every week in the group’s Saturday Night Survivors rides. She said she hoped a new facility wouldn’t be too far away.

“It’s going to be frustrating for us, and it’s going to be inconvenient for me,” she said. “There’s several people who ride every Saturday, and it will definitely affect all of us.”

The Guidrys contacted City Councilman Richard Cherchio, who represents their ward. He said he contacted a real estate agent who works for the North Las Vegas Veterans Community Commission, which he hopes can assist them with finding a new location. Cherchio added that he doesn’t want North Las Vegas to lose Forgotten Not Gone.

Peter said the couple had spent $63,000 on rent and offer the outreach for free. They were approved for a $280,000 Veteran Affairs loan, which they have six months to use as of Dec. 7, they said. The couple said they found a half-acre near Carey Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard that they like for $150,000, but they need help with acquiring a Small Business Administration 504 Loan. Peter said he hopes someone will donate funds or a building so they can continue their operation.

Contact Kailyn Brown at kbrown@viewnews.com or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

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