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
Camp Centurion is proud to welcome Andrew Sopala as Vice President. Bio comming soon.
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.
Mike Carpenter
Mike entered the NC Army National Guard as an officer candidate in 1998 and drilled at The NC Military Academy until joining the Active Army in 2000. From 2000 to 2003 Mike served enlisted as an Apache Helicopter Crew Chief until being released from active duty under the Army’s “Green to Gold” program, where Soldiers attend college and R.O.T.C. to become officers. He rejoined the NCARNG upon being released and honorably discharged from Active Duty, and earned an officer commission in 2004 while attending graduate school at The University of NC at Charlotte. From 2004 to 2010 Mike served as an Aviation platoon leader and company executive officer in North Carolina’s attack helicopter battalion, and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009/2010. From 2010 to 2020 he served in various leadership positions as a Logistics officer under North Carolina’s Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (Engineers), and served in Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield 2017/2018. Mike retired from the NCARNG in 2020 with 22 years of service. Currently he works with the NC Dept. of Commerce as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist, assisting disadvantaged Vets that have barriers to employment in becoming job ready and hired. Mike also is a Service Officer and life VFW member with Post 9337, a member of American Legion Post 23 and a member of the Gaston County Veterans Council.
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 and President of Camp Centurion. Bud is a life member of the VFW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, Disabled American Veterans and Mensa.
Kenneth Heavner
Camp Centurion is proud to welcome Kenneth Heavner as Director. Bio comming soon.
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.