John Turner served in both the U.S. Coast Guard (1992-1996) and the U.S. Army (2003-2007), where he deployed to Mosul, Iraq with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which was extended and reassigned to Baghdad in 2006.  He rose to the rank of Captain, was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious service, and was recognized by best-selling author/journalist Robert Kaplan (Imperial Grunts) in two published articles as a future leader in America.

In between his Coast Guard and Army service, he attended IUPUI and graduated from Purdue University with a business degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, perhaps the perfect training for overseeing the development of a residential facility with food service, recreational and other complex components.

Born and raised in Indiana, Turner settled here in North Carolina following his military service.  He saw a desperate need, put together a small group of like-minded young vets, and began work on solving the terrible problems so many 21st Century war veterans were having coping with traumatic stress and other service-related disabilities.  His vision was clear: a self-reliance program built around temporary housing combined with a battery of services to restore, re-educate and reintegrate the heroes who had stood in harm’s way for America, and now needed help in finding a constructive and personally-satisfying role in civil society.  He quit his job and dedicated himself full-time to pursuing his vision.

He and his group worked tirelessly to build the bi-partisan political and community support that would be needed to make their plan a reality.  John’s persistent and tenacious advocacy won over converts and wore down opponents.  Starting with no money and no political contacts, he earned the confidence of governmental leaders and institutional donors and won the support of concerned people wherever he encountered them.

Now these efforts are nearing the climactic moment when the Veterans Life Center will become a reality, and assume its role as the largest and most comprehensive program in North Carolina dedicated to serving at-risk 21st Century era veterans.

On March 28, 2019, John received the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor, the highest award offered by that national patriotic organization.

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