About Camp Centurion

Camp Centurion, Inc is a North Carolina Tax Exempt, 501(c)(3) Charitable Corporation.

Case

Many veterans are able to make a successful transition back into the civilian world after they are discharged from military service. For these veterans, the training and experience they received, in the service, helps them excel professionally and thrive personally when they return to civilian life. However, for others, the road home can be long, difficult, and filled with problems and pitfalls. Some veterans suffer from physical disabilities or the emotional scars of war resulting in financial crises, legal problems and homelessness, which make “coming home” almost impossible.

Vision

Camp Centurion has been created to provide these local veterans with a program for becoming reintegrated into the community. The key elements of this program include: Supportive housing in a secure environment that is structured and supervised. The community nature of supportive housing will provide fellowship and the forging of bonds as the veterans help each other to achieve goals. Assistance with access to services and benefits will enable veterans to address and overcome the issues that have negatively impacted their ability to function in the civilian world. Personalized plans for individual veterans (including employment, financial, legal and emotional counseling) to enable them to achieve the goal of becoming stable and productive members of the community.

Board of Directors and Staff

Joel Dalton
President
Joel entered the U.S. Army in 1996 and served 23 years within the field artillery community. In 2004, Joel deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and again in 2009. Joel retired from service in December of 2018 and has held numerous veterans support positions, such as JROTC instructor at North Gaston, Family Programs Specialist with the Guard and Reserve, Camp Centurion Operations director, and is currently a Donor Relations Manager at Purple Heart Homes in Statesville, NC.
Andrew Sopala
Vice President
Andrew joined the North Carolina Army National Guard in 1995 as a 13B Cannon Crewmember. Andrew deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2009 and deployed in 2019 in support of Operation Spartan Shield. Andrew joined the Active Guard Reserve program in 2006 as a Human Resources NCO and retired in June 2023. with over 28 years of service. Andrew currently serves as an Executive Assistant with Purple Heart Homes based out of Statesville where he assists veterans nationwide.
Tim Bates
Treasurer
Tim Entered the U.S. Army in 1991 and served at Bad Hersfeld Germany before entering the Michigan Army National Guard in 1994. Tim served as a Traditional Guardsmen until 2001 when he entered the Active Guard Reserves. In 2001 Tim transferred as Active Guard Reserves into the North Carolina Army National Guard where he served until his retirement in 2018. Tim is currently a Project Manager with Purple Heart Homes based out of Statesville where he assists veterans nationwide with their “Veterans Age in Place” program that enables veterans to remain in their homes with repairs completed by Purple Heart Homes.
Ivan "Bud" Strope
Chaplain
Bud joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 and served in Vietnam, as a rifle squad leader, in 1966 and 1967. Bud returned to Parris Island where he served as a rifle coach and as NCO in charge of the BOQ. He was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of Sergeant. Bud worked in the field of combustion engineering and traveled extensively engaged in international sales. He retired, from an engineering consulting firm, in 2013 and became active as a veterans’ advocate. Bud is currently Pastor of Veterans Ministry at Journey Fellowship. Bud is a life member of the VFW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, Disabled American Veterans and Mensa.
Kenneth Heavner
Director
Ken entered the North Carolina Army National Guard as a Traditional Guardsman at the age of 17 as a Junior at West Lincoln High School in May of 2000. He served in the Active Guard Reserves of the North Carolina Army National Guard for the past 21 years as an Enlisted Soldier and an Armor Officer, Infantry Officer, Adjutant General Officer, and Field Artillery Officer until his recent retirement in 2023. Ken has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development from Amridge University, a Master's Degree in Leadership and Management, and a Dual Master's Degree in Professional Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy from Amridge University. Ken has been the Director at Camp Centurion since July of 2023.
Michael Meeks Sr.
Board Member
Mike entered the U.S. Army in 1969 and served at Ft. Knox, KY and Bamberg, Germany before being honorably discharged in 1971. Mike is very active in local civic affairs and is Chairman of the Gaston Veterans Council, President of Bessemer City Crisis Center, Board Member of Bessemer City Boys & Girls Club, past President and board member of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of BC Weekend Backpack Program, past member of BC Economic Development, member of the Bessemer City ABC Board, BC Hope 4 Gaston volunteer, BC Delivery Meal on Wheels, member of Gaston County Honor Guard, member of the CaroMont Hospital Advisory Committee, the CaroMont Transition Committee, CaroMont Veterans Committee and CaroMont Faith and Health Ministry. Mike has received the Humanitarian Award from Purple Heart Homes, the BC 2013 Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Legacy Award.
Kristopher Kennemore
Board Member
Kris joined the North Carolina National Guard in 1995 as a 13F Fire Support Specialist. In 2004, Kris deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Forward Observer for 1-120th IN and again as the Bn Fire Support NCO in 2009. Kris joined the Active Guard and Reserve program in 2008 as a Training NCO and advanced to Readiness NCO in 2011. After deploying to Operation Spartan Shield in 2019, Kris returned to the AGR program and currently serves as the Battalion Operations NCO for 1-113th Field Artillery with over 27 years of service to the NCARNG.