A second home at a retreat for wounded warriors broke ground in Virginia to assist military members, who were injured, and their families.
Serve Our Willing Warriors will build the second home next to the first in Haymarket, Virginia, after the first home proved to be a success for one Army sergeant and his family. Sgt. 1st Class Jon Meadows encountered an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Meadows said he thought about taking his own life.
"I just didn't like myself,” Meadows said. “I just did not like me."
Meadows said a phone call his wife, Melissa, got saved his life. The two of them plus family and friends spent the next six days at the Willing Warriors retreat.
"I was so relaxed and enjoyed myself from the moment I walked through the door," Jon Meadows said. "They took me on a helicopter ride that was, like, awesome. I loved it. It was great. I mean, it was fantastic."
The retreat offers stays for wounded warrior families, an escape from the exhausting routine of hospitals and treatment.
“Bull Run warrior retreat is a gift,” said Melissa Meadows. “And it's a gift that keeps on giving, because once you're part of the family, you're part of the family."
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"That's mom, dad, sister, brother, friends, caretakers," said Serve Our Willing Warriors president and co-founder Shirley Dominick. "Let them come and have a week together and bond and reconnect."
The second home will provide double the number of wounded warriors that can be helped. Funding for the new house came from a $300,000 donation from the PenFed Foundation.
Foundation credit union president and CEO James Schenck flew Blackhawk helicopters in the Army in Korea and said helping the warrior retreat meant a lot to him personally.
"To come out to the Virginia countryside with your family, with your kids, and have a warm place to spend time together to refresh and rebuild, there's nothing like it,” Scheneck said. “It made a real impression on me."
"It gave me a sense of hope and made me want to carry on and try a little harder with my life and push on," said Jon Meadows.