Rick Briggs is in his element.

The retired U.S. Air Force major has just spent the better part of the afternoon chatting with a steady stream of military veterans and their families, all of whom have come to get a closer look at Camp Liberty. This natural refuge located on 137 acres in rural lower Michigan is a rehab facility of sorts designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Now, he’s enjoying a drive through the property’s northwest end in a Polaris multi-seat ATV. He’s away from the crowds, the rumblings of the nearby roads and the jack-hammering of the nearby construction.

Scheduled to be completed by 2016, the full vision of Briggs and his friend, Allan Lutes, to build a stronger veteran’s community at Camp Liberty is within reach.

With the help of volunteer crews, Lutes and Briggs recently oversaw one of the last steps of the project — construction of a 2,880 square-foot, handicapped-accessible lodge that has taken shape over the past five months. Upon completion, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom structure will allow injured veterans and their families to lengthen their stay and take advantage of all the outdoor activities the sprawling site has to offer.

An ambitious project like this doesn’t just happen, of course. The financial barriers would be too daunting for most people, even if they were smart enough to come up with such a unique vision. Briggs, Lutes, and the Camp Liberty team have raised close to $300,000 toward their building projects and have recruited a slew of volunteers to help with completing them. The primary contributor, said Lutes, has been the Eisenhower Center, the country’s leading brain injury facility, which has donated over $200,000 to the project. Among a bevy of donors, Atlas Roofing Corporation has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility, including the ThermalStar® Radiant Comfort™ in-floor heat panels that will regulate heating within the complex; ThermalStar® LCI-SS™ insulated structural sheathing; AC Foam® Crossvent® Insulation roofing product; WeatherMaster Ice and Water Shield, Gorilla Guard® Underlayment; and Pinnacle® Pristine Shingles featuring Scotchgard™ Protector in Green.

The floor panels are precision molded from expanded polystyrene (EPS) with a distinct orange color. The insulation panels form a firm base for water-heated floors, with two models available for new construction and retrofit projects. These panels have a groove pattern that allows plastic tubing to be easily installed for even heat transfer and energy efficiency.

The sheathing was specifically designed to provide continuous exterior insulated structural sheathing in single family, multi-family and light commercial construction. The integrated sheet of 7/16” span rated OSB and nailing system allows uncompromised code prescriptive structural design.

The insulation board consists of a closed-cell polyiso core with vent spacer strips. The spacer strips on the insulation board allow for constant airflow; this provides thermal resistance through the air space by helping to dissipate heat buildup beneath the OSB. 

Atlas put its innovative product knowledge and industry expertise to work to create the Gorilla Guard® line of engineered roof underlayment. It was designed to outperform traditional felt roof underlayment by adding a specially developed formulation of additives to the glass fibers. In third party independent testing, this engineered underlayment had stronger tear resistance and was still lighter when compared to traditional felt underlayment.

By choosing Pinnacle® Pristine shingles featuring Scotchgard™ Protector, Camp Liberty will not have to worry about ugly black streaks caused by algae. Atlas incorporates regular independent third-party laboratory testing that validates even spread of copper granules to ensure maximum algae resistance is built into every roofing shingle. Simply put, once applied to the roof, Camp Liberty will never need to worry about algae growth on the shingles ever again.

Lutes and Briggs have their eye on January 2016, when they hope Camp Liberty will be fully operational and ready to host families of wounded veterans. While they enjoy bringing attention to Camp Liberty, raising funds, and chatting with the press, Briggs and Lutes said they’re antsy to get the construction completed and eager for the property to begin hosting those who need it the most.