Boulder Crest Retreat map (bouldercrestretreat.org)
(ARMY TIMES) -- A group of investors, government officials, business executives and former military personnel broke ground May 18 on a private retreat they hope will become a premier getaway for wounded warriors recovering in the Washington, D.C., region.
Boulder Crest Retreat
, in Bluemont, Va., is a planned 37-acre site where recovering service members and their families can vacation, enjoying therapeutic and recreational activities, said founder Ken Falke, a retired Navy explosive ordnance disposal master chief.
"A large percentage of our military members come from rural America. Wounded warriors treated at Walter Reed can sometimes be assigned there for one to four years. While they are in top facilities, at the end of the day, they are still living in military apartments and medical clinics. This will give them the chance to get out of the city," Falke said.
The $10 million project, set to open in May 2013, will include a central clubhouse, family cabins, a fishing pond, wheelchair-accessible trails and gardens.
Falke said the administration plan is to partner with area businesses to offer additional recreational activities, including winery tours, therapeutic horseback riding, fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking and more.
On hand to mark the groundbreaking were retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman, a double amputee who performed a skydive jump, and former Navy Secretary and honorary board member John Lehman.
"It takes Ken's vision to move this unprecedented project a step closer to reality, marking another selfless gesture to honor our wounded," Lehman said.
Falke is a 21-year veteran who served as an EOD consultant to the federal government. He also founded the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation.
The retreat, he said, will provide a "home away from home" for personnel and their families at no cost.
"This will be a place for family time, for rest, for healing," Falke said.