TYSONS, Va., Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A home in the Virginia countryside that will provide respite for wounded Warriors, their families and caregivers is becoming a reality.
PenFed Credit Union's charitable arm, the PenFed Foundation, and the independent nonprofit Serve Our Willing Warriors (SOWW), today broke ground on a retreat home for wounded Warriors at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run. The home is made possible by the PenFed Foundation's $300,000 donation to SOWW which will cover construction costs. The PenFed Foundation Home to Serve Our Willing Warriors will be the second home on SOWW's property and will double their capacity, enabling them to serve more than 500 wounded Warriors and their families, caregivers, and guests per year. Each home hosts one family at a time for up to six days.
"The fight does not end on the battlefield for our wounded Warriors. When they come home, far too many of our wounded Warriors spend 365 days a year in the hospital undergoing dozens of surgeries," said James Schenck, President and CEO, PenFed Credit Union. "The PenFed Foundation Home to Serve Our Willing Warriors will host hundreds of wounded Warriors and their guests each year to provide a week of normalcy where these brave men and women can reconnect as a family, refresh their minds and renew their spirit in this beautiful space."
SOWW serves the needs of wounded Warriors and their families through "Warrior Getaways" at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run. Since opening on July 4, 2015, the Warrior Retreat has hosted nearly 600 guests, including wounded Warriors from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, and other area military hospitals, at its five-bedroom house on a 37-acre campus on the edge of the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy in Haymarket, Va.
During their stay, recovering Warriors and their families are able to participate in more than 69 different activities and programs offered through local service partners, including helicopter tours, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and a 5-star chef-prepared meal. Warriors and their families can also partake in physical and canine therapy, and family counseling.
"With this incredible donation of $300,000 from the PenFed Foundation, we can double our impact and serve hundreds of Warriors and their families each year," said Shirley Dominick, Co-Founder and President, Serve Our Willing Warriors. "We will save more lives, save more marriages, strengthen family bonds, and continue to inspire hope."
Retired Sergeant First Class Jonathan Meadows and his wife Melissa spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. Sergeant Meadows served in the Army for 13 years and suffered a compound traumatic brain injury. His family and close friends stayed at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run from June 9-15, 2017.
"The experience at Warrior Retreat really helped me move forward," said Sergeant Meadows. "I was really glad I went because it got me through a really bad point in my life. I felt like I was at death's door. The retreat saved my life because I was going downhill fast. This is what I needed. And this is what saved me."
Sergeant Meadows' wife, Melissa Meadows, credits the six-day stay with saving their family's future. "What do you do when your spouse is suicidal? You get as much support as you can. Everything lined up perfectly when Jon was struggling at his absolute worst. Once we got to the Warrior Retreat in this gorgeous, serene location, it was just what the good doctor ordered. I remember sitting around the fire as a family each night and telling ghost stories… Visiting the Warrior Retreat was just what we needed, when we needed it. It's overwhelming to experience the generosity of the community and its support of wounded Warriors."
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by nearly 100 guests, including PenFed Credit Union and PenFed Foundation board members, Serve Our Willing Warriors board members, veterans, active-duty service men and women, and members of the community.
PenFed and its Foundation's gift to SOWW is part of their ongoing efforts to support military and veteran communities. This year, PenFed and its Foundation together have donated more than $1.3 million to charitable organizations in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, primarily those organizations supporting veterans and military programs.
About PenFed Foundation
Founded in 2001, the PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. It provides service members, veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their lives through programs on financial education, credit-building, home ownership, and short-term assistance. Affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the Foundation has the resources to effectively reach military communities across the nation, build strong partnerships, and engage a dedicated corps of volunteers in its mission. The credit union funds the Foundation's personnel and most operational costs, demonstrating its strong commitment to the programs the Foundation provides. To learn more, visit: www.penfedfoundation.org.
About PenFed Credit Union
Established in 1935 as the War Department Credit Union, PenFed Credit Union is America's second-largest federal credit union, serving over 1.6 million members worldwide with nearly $24 billion in assets. Our long-standing mission is to provide superior financial services in a cost-effective manner, while being responsive to members' needs. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading mortgages, automobile loans, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, checking, certificates and a wide range of other financial services with members' interests always in mind. PenFed Credit Union serves a diverse population, and no military service is required to join. PenFed Credit Union offers many paths to membership, including numerous employee groups and association affiliations. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an equal housing lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit PenFed.org, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.
About Serve Our Willing Warriors
Opened on July 4, 2015, Serve Our Willing Warriors is a volunteer- and community-supported 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. We provide encouragement and non-medical programs that positively affect the well-being, recuperation, and lives of military service members (Warriors) who are Wounded, Ill, Injured, Recovering, or Recovered from service-related injuries. We partner with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Veteran Service Organizations, businesses, corporations, churches, youth groups, and other public and private sector organizations. The Warrior Retreat at Bull Run is our flagship program. Featuring an 11,000-square foot ADA accessible home on 37-acres in the shadow of the historic Bull Run Mountains in Haymarket, Virginia, the Retreat offers six-day respite stays during which Warriors and their families and caregivers can temporarily escape hospital settings and day-to-day demands to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with each other and support networks. Since its founding, Serve Our Willing Warriors has hosted more than 600 Warriors, families, and caregivers. We host only one family at a time. Warriors incur no cost. For more information visit www.willingwarriors.org.
SOURCE PenFed Foundation