The Peggy Crosby Center’s newest tenant is Overland Unlimited Bridge of Hope, whose mission is to educate veterans about how to overcome the long-term effects of combat and operational stress. 

  Founded by Justin Kingsland, a former British Army Airborne Special Forces member, Bridge of Hope seeks to help veterans and first responders who are suffering from the residual impact of their service.  Justin was motivated to create this program when a close friend, a veteran, committed suicide.

Some of you may remember reading about Justin’s for-profit venture, Highlands Excursions in Laurel last fall.  When not busy with this charitable endeavor Justin is active offering tours of the Plateau and surrounding areas of interest.   He offers the excursions of Highlands area free to Gold Star families.

An avid outdoorsman, Justin realized that his love of nature and his knowledge of survival skills might provide needed relief for veterans suffering after their discharge.  He uses educational materials from well-known behavioral specialist and author Pam Wolls as a foundation for the program.  Ms. Wolls also serves on the Board of OUBH. 

Utilizing nearby national parks for a two to three-day Warrior Survival School, the veterans are taught survival skills needed to improve their future lives.  Participants discuss resilience, the impact of stress chemicals, and how to rebalance their stress system.  

The program is free to veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as first responders.  Participants are referred to the program through word of mouth, the VA, and the website.  

Bridge of Hope relies on contributions and grants.  To support Overland Unlimited Bridge of Hope, a 501(c)(3) organization, go to  Having space at the Peggy Crosby Center provides Justin with a professional environment, interaction with other non-profits, plus conference space for debriefing, and storage for equipment.  The PCC is a non-profit 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization established to provide office space to other non-profits and community-serving organizations for a modest rent.  Contributions to PCC fund all the improvements; rental income pays only ongoing maintenance.  Holding rents low allows non-profits to spend more of their resources serving the community.

Unobtrusive, the Peggy Crosby Center plays a vital role in the health and vitality of the Highlands community.

Heading up Fifth Street toward Highlands School you pass The Peggy Crosby Center. Resting atop a wooded knoll overlooking Highlands Park condos, this, unassuming red brick building may seem somewhat mundane, but it's a gem for the entire community. 

Many of Highlands' most influential non-profit entities including The Highlands Literacy Council, The Center for Life Enrichment, Gilliam's Promise; and The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust call the Peggy Crosby Center home. PCC is a real blessing to these organizations because it offers them quality office space at affordable rents - a real challenge in towns large and small.

Just think how much the community would be diminished if area children and adults did not have The Literacy Council to help them improve their reading or get their GED. Area young people benefit from the drug-­free activities and education from student-led Gilliam's Promise.

Thank goodness there's the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust protecting our land and natural resources and providing ongoing educational programs through eco tours and speaker events.

So many people attend the classes and lectures offered through the Center for Life Enrichment. Not only do employees of local businesses benefit, we all learn here. Some specialized businesses also call the Crosby Center home. These entities offer services to our community like geriatric care, catering, financial services, and an entrepreneurial consulting service helping emerging businesses. Without the center, these businesses probably would have to relocate outside of our area. 

Since its inception in 1993 when the Highlands Hospital vacated this building, the PCC Board has worked tirelessly to collect funds to maintain and improve the property. Careful not to interfere with the fund-raising efforts of their tenants, the center conducts a single targeted mail campaign in the fourth quarter each year. It is the generous donations from this campaign and a few hard-won grants from generous benefactors that underwrite the Center's improvement budget.

Please remember the Center in your annual giving. Last year's updates brought a soft palette on the walls offering a perfect backdrop for eye-catching art. New carpeting diffuses the noise as eager students rush to their classes. With expanded internet and updated restrooms everyone is happier. Many of the enhancements are not visible -improved insulation, energy-­efficient windows, an upgraded fire suppression system, and improved lighting to name a few. During 2015 improvements are moving outdoors and will include painting, parking areas, sidewalks, and landscaping.

It’s said that a house is not a home without love.  

Well, just as true, the Peggy Crosby Center in Highlands is not merely a building, it’s a place of warmth and welcome, openness, opportunity, and outreach.    

“The Peggy Crosby Center is a building alive with energy,” said Margaret Eichman, executive director of Cullasaja Women’s Outreach. “It is filled with caring people who are ready, willing, and able to share insights, knowledge, and encouragement.  As home to the Highlands Literacy Council, Counseling & Psychotherapy Center, International Friendship Center, and Center for Life Enrichment learning sessions, it truly is a haven of good works, which we are proud to support.” 

The Center began as Highlands’ original hospital.  But since 1993 (when the hospital moved to its present campus), it has been repurposed and now houses community service and 501(c)(3) entities with its affordable office space, conference/learning center, and kitchen. 

“We could not have survived without the generosity of grants and donors that have kept our building vibrant,” said Ellis McIntyre, advocate of the Center.  “Through the years, Cullasaja Women’s Outreach has been one of our biggest supporters.  CWO grants have renovated our conference room, restyled our main entrance, and replaced an aging air-conditioning system – making our building more welcoming, safer, and professional.”  

By making rents affordable, the Peggy Crosby Center allows its tenants to focus more of their funds on effective outreach programs and services.  The Center operates with a break-even budget each year, and funds capital needs renovations, and major repairs – through the generosity of grants and contributions. 

“It’s so fulfilling to see the positive impact CWO grants have had on the Peggy Crosby facility.  Their board has done a wonderful job in planning and executing improvements,” said Joy Abney, Co-Chair of CWO’s Grants Committee.  “Helping local organizations broaden their influence and positively impact people’s lives is the touchstone of our Women’s Outreach.  I encourage others to consider supporting the Peggy Crosby Center – it’s a unique resource for Highlands and its non-profits.”

Since 2006, Cullasaja Women’s Outreach has pooled its member funds to build a stronger community. They have invested over $1,030,000 in the Highlands-Cashiers community through grants to 34 local not-for-profit and charitable organizations.

by Wiley Sloan

At Your Service Home Care is predicated upon compassionate assistance to aging adults. 

At Your Service Home Care. operated by Tricia Wheeler, provides home care for aging adults.

After receiving news of her grandmoth­er's Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, Tricia became interested in ways to help her grandmother, an independent woman that had spent her life helping people as a Reg­istered Nurse, and those like her to cope with their new diagnosis. Tricia decided to pursue a career in Health Administration to safeguard that aging adults received the care they deserved and to provide their families with the peace of mind.

Tricia operates At Your Service Home Care with passion and purpose. She endeavors to provide the best lifestyle possible for her clients - just as she hoped to provide for her own grandmother. At Your Service Home Care and Its team of companion caregiv­ers help its clients to maintain the freedom they yearn for while receiving the care that they require.

Tricia holds a Bachelor of Science In Busi­ness Administration and a Masters of Health Administration from the University of South Carolina. She also received a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Gerontology from the University of South Carolina. In the past, she served as the director of an as­sisted living and dementia unit and as the executive director of two continuing care retirement communities. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, the Highlands Mountaintop Rotary Club, and the Better Business Bureau.

Learn more about At Your Service Home Care go to the website at at your service. care or call (828) 200-9000 to discuss how At Your Service can help your family.

The Peggy Crosby Center is a non-profit organization established to provide of­fice space for other non-profits or start up organizations. Rental Rates to the ten­ants are held as low as possible to allow the tenants to use more of their funds to serve the community. 

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