By Hannah Caver, Staff Writer
CENTER POINT — Three Hots and a Cot Clay Veteran Center located at 2124 Old Springville Road is hosting Haunt 4 Heros, a haunted attraction, every Friday and Saturday in October from dusk till 11 p.m. The cost to enter is $15 a person and half price for veterans.
Get ready to be scared in a local haunted maze. Every piece of the attraction was handcrafted by Executive Director Vic Springston and other members and veterans from Three Hots and a Cot. His love for all things scary brought life (or shall I say the undead) to the backyard of the charity.
“We figured we’d try to do something different since we wouldn’t be able to go into the community or help raise money, but there has to be a way to do it,” Springston said. “So we figured we’d try to kill a couple of birds with one stone, bring some entertainment to the community and raise some money.”
The maze will have you cautiously winding through smoke-filled hallways allowing your mind to run rampant with each turn. The intricately placed decorations leave you guessing what is real and what is not. Then, as the hair standups on the back of your neck with anticipation of not knowing, you get the scare of your life as a pig-headed figure jumps out of nowhere.
With the fear of turning around being the only thing carrying you forward, you reluctantly make your way toward terrifying moans and the heart-stopping churn of a chainsaw ripping to life. But, if the dark, occasionally skeleton-infested hallways are too much for you, enjoy a haunting stroll down creepy town, then stop, and pay $5 to play Brain Games where you can launch five brains into the heads of zombies for the chance to will a “Haunt 4 Heros” t-shirt.
This is Haunt 4 Heros first year, and they can’t wait to show you what they have in store for you this Halloween! Tickets will be available online at haunt4heros.com and the entrance gate. It’s a non-profit haunt that dedicates all of the donations and money raised to help get homeless veterans back on their feet through the Three hots and a Cot charity.
Three Hots and a Cot is an organization formed by veterans to help veterans. Their primary mission is to assist homeless military veteran’s transition from life on the streets into a self-sustained lifestyle. The charity provides a place for our homeless veterans to sleep, food, and the tools needed to help them get back on their feet.
Chief Financial Officer and Navy veteran Rich Cislak helped open Three Hots in a Cot back in October 2010 when he and another veteran took ownership of a 15 bedroom, seven-bath home in the Center Point area of Birmingham. The house opened on December 18, 2010, and currently provides a home for 18 veterans.
“One thing that is really important to us is community involvement,” Cislak said. “The community comes by here all the time, helping us out, helping them be better adults; they want to get involved. It takes a lot of community help to keep this pace running.”
Three Hots and a Cot is not your typical veteran’s home, and they took the term “home” seriously when decorating the house. They wanted each veteran to feel relaxed and comfortable as they walked in. The main kitchen area screams for a salute has each piece connects to one branch of the military. But, that’s not all, with each bedroom a different theme and two separate living quarters that meet the needs of every veteran no matter their situation.
With the help from the community, Three Hots and a Cot has been able to build a basketball court, fire pit, and more for the veterans that pass through their doors. In addition, Three Hots and a Cot is pet-friendly for the animal-loving veterans who refuse to leave their furry babies behind.
For more information about Three Hots and a Cot visit cotsforvets.org.
“We’d like to say that we’d like to thank the community for all their involvement over the years,” Cislak said. “They’ve been great to us, and you know the needs continue on.”
Haunt 4 Heros is looking for volunteers to help scare unsuspecting visitors as they wander through the haunted attraction call (205) 520-2356 for more information.