About Camp Centurion

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


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.


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
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
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
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
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.
Kevin Evans
Board Member
Kevin entered the U.S. Navy in 1984 and served as a Corpsman in active duty and reserve capacity until being honorably discharged in 1992. He currently serves as a North Carolina ambassador for Mission 22, an organization united in the war against veteran suicide. He is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders and American Legion. He has been employed by Caromont Health in Gastonia for over 36 years, currently as a health information specialist after working for the psychiatric department for 18 years.
Evan Leonard
Board Member
Dr. Evan Leonard, a clinical anatomist with a doctorate in medical science from Lincoln Memorial University, has academic degrees in biology, anatomy, and medical science from the University of Miami, Barry University, and Nova Southeastern University, respectively. A former Marine Corps reservist, Dr. Leonard has practiced internal and emergency medicine at the University of Florida and published peer-reviewed research. He continues to teach as a professor at various universities.
Greg Dimmer
Board Member
Greg Dimmer, a dedicated general contractor and community advocate, founded Dimmer & Sons Construction, Inc. in 1995. After serving in the Marine Corps from 1989 to 1994, he channeled his discipline and leadership into building a reputable construction firm. Greg is married to Shelli Dimmer and extends his commitment to community service through significant contributions. He has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Gaston County, building homes and serving on its board. Additionally, Greg has held positions on the Belmont YMCA board and the Gaston County Home Builders Board, underscoring his dedication to community development and support.
Tommy Hughes
Board Member
Tommy Hughes began his military career in Charlotte, North Carolina, serving in the 1-113 Field Artillery before transitioning to Cyber Command in 2013. Over 19 years, he has been deployed to the Middle East three times, demonstrating adaptability in field artillery and cyber roles. Outside the military, Tommy is the Director of Recruiting and Marketing at Waffle House Inc. in Charlotte, where he leads brand and college engagement, manages recruitment, and offers career counseling. He plans to use his experiences to support fellow veterans through the Centurion Veterans Organization, aiding their transition to civilian careers.
Cory Hinkle
Cory's distinguished 21-year military career began in 2002 as an engineer and a human resources specialist. He deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, focusing on route clearance and crater repair, and again in 2011, working in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Qatar with a brigade personnel office. Retiring in June 2023, Cory owns King's Legacy Transport, a nationwide company specializing in time-sensitive and specialized loads. He lives in Cliffside, NC, with his wife, Rachel, and their two daughters, Stella and Lyla.