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Faith leaders group takes over LaCrosse Commerce Center
SoVaNow.com / January 02, 2013The La Crosse Commerce Center, a landmark building on U.S. Route 58, has new owners, Emmaus Investors, LLC, and a new tenant, Kingdom Warriors, Inc.
Emmaus Investors has purchased the property from Tanglewood Land Company, Inc. to accommodate Kingdom Warriors, a newly-formed non-profit whose mission is to “provide a hand up, not just a hand out,” to those “who have fallen through the cracks” — especially returning and wounded military veterans, said Hab Barker, an investor and Kingdom Warriors member.
Barker said the new organization’s overarching mission is to carry out the “Great Commission”: assist the local needy, help veterans find employment and achieve independent living, and to encourage respect for all human life, from conception to natural death.
Barker said the caliber of the existing tenant businesses at the La Crosse Commerce Center gave Emmaus Investors even more reason for wanting to acquire the property. The investors plan to keep the Center as a site for commerce, with a mix of existing and new businesses. Kingdom Warriors members expect that some new businesses that move into the Commerce Center will originate at the business incubation center they are opening at the site.
A portion of the building will be taken up for charitable pursuits. Initially, the space at the back of the La Crosse Center will store non-perishable food, clothing, and furniture collected by Kingdom Warriors. Food and other items will be donated to anyone who expresses a need, but the group is particularly interested in helping wounded veterans.
Kip Lafoon, a founding member and treasurer of Kingdom Warriors, explained that the group plans to coordinate functions with churches and other service providers in the area, to serve those in need quickly and more efficiently. “Our main focus is to help people quickly,” he said, “but to do more than just that. We want to help them become able to help themselves.”
As soon as renovations are completed, Kingdom Warriors will open its administrative offices at the Center. Within the next six months, “if all goes well,” Baker said there would also be a “business incubation” center in the space.
Barker explained: “Many people may have an idea for a new business, but lack the resources or where with all to start the business. For those having viable business concepts, [Kingdom Warriors] will assist the veteran-entrepreneur with startup. Startup services will include business advice, market analysis, technical and I.T. support, office space, capital sources, and permitted donor base access.”
Barker sees Kingdom Warriors’ work as a way to bring jobs to a struggling region while helping new or hopeful entrepreneurs recognize their dream. He added, “Successful business startups can also provide jobs for other veterans.”
The idea for Kingdom Warriors and this one-stop-shop for new entrepreneurs sprang from Saturday morning discussions among a local group of men known as the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. They are part of a national non-profit organization of Christian laymen from nearly every denomination who share their spirituality, but also mentor young men in need of a positive male role model, and encourage active involvement in one’s own church.
The Reverend Kevin Rosenfeld, pastor of First Baptist Church of South Hill, summed up the outlook for Emmaus Investors and Kingdom Warriors: “We look forward to making positive contributions to the area for decades to come, with God’s help.”
Emmaus Investors expressed appreciation for Tanglewood Land Company, headed by Pete Rudd Sr. and Pete Rudd Jr. of Bracey, who were described in an organization press release as “true to their reputations. They were cordial throughout the process, and true to their word. Their handshake is their bond.” The Reverend Carl Walker, another principal in the organization, also offered praise for Benchmark Bank, which financed the transaction. “We have been really pleased with the cordial, efficient service from Benchmark. The whole process was fast, friendly, and inexpensive. They really made us feel wanted and at-home. Benchmark helped us put feet on our prayers.”
Members of Emmaus Investors (named after the Walk to Emmaus, found in Luke 24: 13-35) are the Rev. Kevin Rosenfeld, Pastor of First Baptist Church in South Hill; the Rev. Carl Walker, Pastor of Exalted Word Church in South Hill and President of Kingdom Warriors, Inc., a non-denominational Christian ministry; Hab Baker, Managing Member of Emmaus Investors, and Chairman of the Parish Council of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in South Hill; Douglas B. Child, Sr., President of Diamond Grove Farm, Inc. in Brunswick County, and member of the Missions Committee of First United Methodist Church in South Hill; Kip Lafoon, principal of Shoop Insurance Agency and former Chairman of the Board of Deacons of First Baptist Church in South Hill; and the Rev. Mack Talley, pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Clarksville.
Donations can be made to Kingdom Warriors, Inc., P.O. Box 974, South Hill, VA 23970, or call (434) 774-0713.
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