Sisters Melissa Spicer and Melinda Sorrentino joined the family business straight out of college—working along with their father and other family members to run Campus Hill Apartments in Syracuse, N.Y. When their father sold the business in 2007, the sisters decided to use their real estate and renovation acumen to benefit veterans, whom Spicer had been concerned about for decades. At age 16, she saw a homeless man holding a sign that said he was a veteran, and she told Marnie Eisenstadt of the Syracuse Post-Standard, “I thought, ‘Oh, my God. How can this be?'” Spicer began a charity that trained service animals to help veterans, and by the time the family sold their business, her non-profit needed more space.
So the sisters and other family members put up $700,000 to buy a vacant, squirrel-infested lodge in Chittenango, N.Y. near Oneida Lake and renovated it to serve as headquarters for Clear Path for Veterans, a nonprofit focused on all aspects of easing veterans’ transition back to the civilian world. Clear Path offers veterans a place to enjoy natural beauty, a dog training program, peer-to-peer counseling (the Wingman Program), acupuncture, massage, free meals and culinary training, a “Saturday Warrior Reset” program and more.
Clear Path serves 230 veterans each month through the help of volunteers. Spicer and Sorrentino do not take pay for their work at Clear Path, so most of the donations they receive go directly to helping vets. Spicer told Eisenstadt, “If what you hope to do benefits the greater good of the community, from beginning to end, never quit.”