VIRGINIA

Virginia retreat to become sanctuary for wounded warriors

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An area in Loudoun County will someday be a sanctuary for wounded warriors. Thirty-seven acres in Bluemont, Virginia have been set aside as a one-of-a-kind retreat for veterans and their families.

For the veterans who lost arms and legs and suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder after bravely serving our country, transitioning back into civilian life is not easy. But, the Boulder Crest Retreat promises to help.

It’s a celebration of life after tragedy.

Dana Bowman sky-dived to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains—where a country refuge is taking place. Bowman is just like the more than 40,000 veterans since 2002, who have sustained lifelong injuries in combat. Bowman lost both legs in an Army mid-air collision back in 1994 and longed for a place to reconnect and recover with family.

“My partner died on that tragedy. It changed my whole life,” Bowman said.

Ken Falke says it's scenarios like that, which push him to give back to wounded warriors. Falke is also a disabled veteran who knows firsthand the struggle to rebound.

“We feel very passionate that these families need to get away from those hospitals and deserve a break and that's what we hope to offer here,” said Falke, who is the founder of the Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors.

Falke is the brains behind the Boulder Crest Retreat. The $10 million project is funded entirely by private and corporate donations. Injured veterans will be able to spread out in four cabins for up to 14 days without opening their wallets.

“We've had so many volunteers reach out to us. Professional yoga instructors, kayaking instructors and we hope that we can really get them out of the city—get them out here to enjoy some recreation, some rest and just enjoy the outdoors,” Falke said.

Staff Sergeant Timothy Brown who stepped on an IED in Afghanistan back in 2011 and is currently undergoing rehab at Walter Reed in Bethesda can hardly wait to soak up the serenity.

“Just because we're injured doesn't mean…we haven't given up anything. We haven't given up wanting to do what we did before. Places like this will help facilitate that. We're the same person just minus a couple of limbs,” Sergeant Brown said.

The retreat has been two years in the making. The founder hopes to have the doors open next May.

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