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$1 million grant awarded to Camp Freedom

A nonprofit that helps veterans and first responders is receiving some financial help to expand its services.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Camp Freedom has helped about 5,000 veterans and first responders find peace in the outdoors and will soon have more space to do so on its property near Carbondale.

The nonprofit received $1 million in state funding through the Neighborhood Assistance Program, which helps businesses and nonprofits improve communities.

"I don't know that I've gotten one for more than $25,000, so $1 million is pretty amazing, and it's great to know we have the support to help our vets and first responders," said Bridget Slagan, Camp Freedom's development coordinator.

Matt Guedes is the executive director at Camp Freedom and showed us part of the area where a more than 10,000-square-foot event center will be built.

"We'll have classroom space, meeting space, and all kinds of everything we need in other space for holding events because events are also something we do at Camp Freedom," Guedes said.

Guedes says part of their mission is to help veterans find a new lease on life and wanted to provide a space to allow vets to further their education by using their GI Bill.

"Through a partnership with Keystone College, we're going to offer curriculum and courses that are certificate programs that are two weeks in duration that will have to do with the outdoors."

The event center will have multiple office spaces for staff, conference rooms for classes, a commercial-grade kitchen, and a main hall that can hold 600 people.

"We're able to reach more people. It's not limited to people who just like fishing or hunting. Now, we can open the doors up to people who are looking to further their education or looking for different avenues to better their lives."

Construction on the event center at Camp Freedom is expected to be completed in about a year.

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