Veterans and life-partners Marty Webber and Jeff Poissant always knew they wanted to do something with the 36 acres of wooded property they owned in Barnegat Township in New Jersey. Several ideas ran through their minds, all of which involved benefiting veterans somehow, but a decision wasn’t made before Poissant passed of bladder cancer at 56.
The two men met in the late 1980s while stationed in Germany.
Marty Weber’s small memorial for Jeffery Poissant. Credit: Steve Strunsky.
“I met him, and we fell in instant love. We did,” Webber says. “He knew, but I didn’t. We were two peas in a pod. He was a helicopter crew chief, and I was a truck driver. So we had land and air.”
The couple moved back to New Jersey, bought a house, and started a landscaping company together. At one point, they considered creating a cemetery for vets and had even been approached by a developer, but following Poissant’s death, Webber decided to go for a different approach.
“…This is going to keep them alive,” Weber says.
Oh May 27, Marty Weber signed a letter of intent to donate his 36 acres to be used as a group home and rehabilitation facility for homeless veterans struggling with addiction and mental illness. The facility will be known as “Jeff’s Camp” in memory of Jeff Poissant.
Jeff’s Camp is set to include an 8,000 square-foot building that would be divided in three—a treatment facility operated by a nearby healthcare provider, New Life Addiction services, and a thrift store run by Just Believe, a homeless outreach center. The thrift store would employ the veterans living on the property, helping them reintegrate into society.
New Life’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Savon, has seen studies that show exposure to natural surroundings has benefits for one’s physical and mental health, something he hopes will work in the veterans’ favors. As far as he knows, the combination of treatment facility, permanent residence, and retreat is unique.
Sign advertising the upcoming Jeff’s Camp. Credit: NJ Advance Media.
Weber signing the letter of intent alongside owner of Just Believe (Paul Hulse) and Rep. Andy Kim.
“I think the combination of things, the thrift store, counseling on the premises, whole groups in the woods, all those things, it’s just tremendous,” Savon says.
Living under the same roof as veterans undergoing similar struggles will hopefully cultivate a natural support group, something many of our veterans are in desperate need of.
Fundraising for Jeff’s Camp has breeched the seemingly immobile wall that our feuding political parties have built up. People of all backgrounds have come together to hopefully be a part this major project spearheaded by Marty Weber, including Representative Andy Kim, who was there to witness the signing of Weber’s letter of intent.
“If ever there was an issue that tries to unite our country it would be about supporting our veterans,” Kim added. “So this is something where it should be all hands on deck. It should be a no-brainer to everybody.”
Marty Weber discusses plans for Jeff’s Camp with Rep. Andy Kim. Credit: NJ Advance Media.
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