Deborah Benton – June 2013 Volunteer of the Month

On 06/24/2013

In 1962, Henry Koocher, a WWII veteran, purchased a warehouse on Somerville Street in Manchester.  For twenty-five years, he and his wife, Libby,  proudly owned and operated their distribution company, until he died on Memorial Day in 1986.  The property was sold, and it fell into disrepair, getting older and dirtier until 2010 when Harbor Homes purchased it, and raised a new 26-bedroom homeless veterans’ facility, BAE Systems Independence Hall, on the property.

Henry Koocher was the father of Deborah Benton, a year-long volunteer of Harbor Homes.  According to Deb, the location of Independence Hall was fated, and her father would have been “over the moon” to learn that his land was being re-purposed to shelter homeless veterans.

Mr. Koocher’s legacy is more than just land though.  We know he would be equally “over the moon” to learn of the work Deb has done in making Independence Hall a success for the whole community.   As a military wife and daughter and an active Manchester citizen, Deb has been an incredible asset to the opening ceremony committee.  She has shared her knowledge of local veteran resources and general protocol, and has connected Harbor Homes with military officials, veteran professionals, business sponsors and donors.  Her know-how has made this project a stand-out success.

Deb has been a persistent face at Harbor Homes for the last year.  She helped to plan the Veterans FIRST Auction in April by recruiting attendees, soliciting donations and gathering auction items.

Honoring her father’s military spirit, Deb has always been a wonderful team member, a dedicated advocate, and an inspiration to all the staff and volunteers she meets.  For her work, her story and her compassion, we are honored to make Deb June’s Volunteer of the Month.  Deb, we thank you with the utmost sincerity and respect.



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