Local family honors veterans with gift to Upstate Warrior Solution
Pictured above: Rupert Huse and daughter, Dorothy Dowe
Former U.S. Army Reservist Rupert Huse believed a country should do everything possible to care for its veterans. So it’s no surprise that when his family began considering how best to honor his legacy after his death in May 2020, the work of Upstate Warrior Solution (UWS) captured their attention.
Working with the Community Foundation of Greenville, they contributed $500,000 to UWS from a charitable fund in his name. The gift included a matching challenge, providing $1 million to seed a capital campaign to create the Rupert Huse Veteran Resource Center. Located at 770 Pelham Road in Greenville, the facility will house public, private, and nonprofit partners working together to assist veterans and address complex problems like veteran unemployment, homelessness, and suicide. Renovations on the existing building began in March 2022. UWS will begin moving into the space this February and the center is planned to open in March 2023.
“It will be such an asset for our community, a central place for veterans and their families to get whatever services they need,” says Dorothy Dowe, Huse’s daughter.
Dowe says her father didn’t foresee that he would have the means to make charitable contributions of such meaningful impact. Born into poverty in 1935, he spent part of his childhood in foster care. He put himself through Union College, competing for the swim team and serving in the ROTC. While pursuing a career with New York Telephone Company, Huse purchased, renovated, and managed rental properties in New York City. After retirement, he and his wife, Mary, moved to South Carolina to be near Dowe and her family.
Dowe’s mother kept the letters her husband sent when he was away serving in the Army Signal Corps in Fort Meade, Maryland.
“The letters he wrote to her while he was in the reserves show how he evolved to love his time in the service,” Dowe says. “Stories he told reflected on that as being one of the best times of his life.”
Serving during the Vietnam era, he saw the lack of respect shown to returning veterans. A lifelong history buff, Huse studied World War I and II, and was affected by current events as well.
“We lived a mile and a half from the World Trade Center, so 9-11 was really personal to my family,” Dowe says. “He saw the ensuing war and the fact that it produced a generation of veterans who volunteered for service. My sense was that he was troubled by the fact that veterans weren’t honored as he felt they should be.”
While he was living, Huse favored giving to brick-and-mortar projects for a tangible purpose, such as a locker room for the swim team at his alma mater, Union College. Through her role on Greenville City Council, Dowe became familiar with UWS and learned of its vision for a veteran resource center. Her husband Steve, whose own father served in World War II and the Korean War, volunteers as a mentor through UWS with the 13th Circuit Veterans Treatment Court. The couple realized the project’s goals would align well with Huse’s priorities.
“For a decade, Upstate Warrior Solution has connected veterans and their families to the resources they need to thrive. We know that eliminating barriers is critical, especially when addressing veteran unemployment, homelessness, and suicide,” says Charlie Hall, UWS president. “The first of its kind in the region, the Rupert Huse Veteran Center will streamline collaboration by bringing service providers together under one roof.”
“We are excited about this innovative approach to veteran services in our community,” says CFG President Bob Morris. “UWS has been a leader in this space for a decade, and we are proud to support their efforts to build a strong network of veteran service providers in Greenville.”