One year ago Ken and Julia Falke purchased a 37 acre site in rural Loudoun County, Virginia located about 60 miles northwest of Washington, DC with the hopes of establishing a respite for Wounded Warriors. Last month, their dream came one step closer to reality when Loudoun County approved the rural site plan for the Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors, a 501 (c) 3 Organization. The retired US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and Master Chief Petty Officer and his wife now has permission to move forward with building permits and fundraising efforts.
In a press release covering Boulder Crest Retreat, Kellie Boles, an agricultural development officer for Loudoun County said, â€œThe site of Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors is perfect for sanctuary and sweet corn. Kenâ€™s vision to keep agricultural land productive, while supporting wounded warriors is a beautiful use of Loudoun Countyâ€™s rural assets. The Rural Business Development team is looking forward to supporting the project through the development phase and throughout future growth and expansion phases.â€
At the site, the Falkes plan to “provide a free, first-class haven for wounded veterans and their families as they work through the often painful process of reconnecting and recovering after the horrific effects of war.” Injuries include physical, mental and emotional trauma.
â€œMany of the severely wounded service men and women I have met are young enlisted personnel that make on average less than $2,000 a month. The majority of the injuries they incurred in Iraq and Afghanistan will affect them for life,â€ said Ken, a service-disabled Navy veteran himself.â€œ
â€œWe hope that families will come out and stay for several days and take advantage of the benefits the retreat will offer,â€ said Ken, noting that â€œeven short day trips to the countryside provide for much needed rest and relaxation.â€
The endeavor is delving into the â€œnon-clinicalâ€ side of therapy. They plan to offer “nature walks, gardening, foraging, photography, bird and wildlife watching, archery and other onsite adaptive sporting activities, and will also act as home to therapeutic dogs. Off-site activities available to the veterans and their families will include swimming, canoeing, kayaking, tubing and fishing in the Shenandoah River; hiking the Appalachian Trail, biking; antiquing; golf; tennis; winery tours; visits to a therapeutic horse farm, a country farm and petting zoo.”
Naturally, this much needed facility comes with a price. Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors is looking to raise a targeted initial capital of $10 million. Of that, $5 million will fund the physical construction of the retreat, including four ADA handicap accessible â€œgreentechâ€ cabins, an ADA handicap accessible â€œgreentechâ€ meeting house with organic farm-to-table meals, a walled organic garden and field of organic produce, as well as a bird sanctuary and fishing pond. The remaining funds will support operating costs for the retreatâ€™s first five years, after which Falke foresees the retreat becoming self-sufficient.
Ken Falke is no stranger to supporting his fellow Wounded Warriors. He and his wife put up $1 million in personal funds to get the ball rolling. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation, a philanthropic organization that provides resources to the wounded and their families beyond the budgetary constraints of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, Ken is the Founder of A-T Solutions, Inc. in addition to Founder and Chairman of the Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors and Shoulder 2 Shoulder, Inc a for-profit, socially responsible company dedicated to multi-media solutions for wounded warriors and their families.
For more information please visit, www.bouldercrestretreat.org.