Mary Lahammer heads to Sauk Centre to see an innovative veterans housing program at the former state school for girls where people were once sent away, veterans are finding a new beginning.

We first met Melody Butler in our reporting about the repurposing of the former Anoka Insane Asylum. A historic mansion on a hill with extensive property of 124 acres is now in the hands of Eagle’s Healing Nest. As the name implies, the idea is to create a refuge for veterans to heal.

The great irony here is that Butler’s family once threatened to send her to the Home School for Girls, she admits “I was a wild child.” She has spent a lifetime helping veterans, promising her father she would before he died. Her children have gone on to serve in the military as well. Bulter says “I have no fear to go into the alley or under the bridges” to find homeless veterans to save.