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House in the Woods is a nonprofit organization offering outdoor programs to bring together small groups of active military, veterans, and their family members to relax, share, bond, and deal with the stress, loss, grief, and other emotions which can haunt the grieving soul. 


We offer canoeing, kayaking, hiking, hunting, fishing, nature tours, campfires, swimming, wildlife identification and spotting, and other natural Eastern Maine resource “treasures” God has given our beautiful state to enjoy. As participants face the outdoor challenges presented by Mother Nature herself, they will have the opportunity to share laughter, memories, sorrow, service, and pride, among many other common bonds.


Paul & Dee House

Paul and Dee House founded House in the Woods after their son, Sgt. Joel A. House, was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in the Army in Iraq.  Their vision for House in the Woods began shortly after attending the military memorial service at Fort Hood, TX for Joel and 19 other soldiers from his army base who died the same month as their son.  It was both emotionally overwhelming and comforting to be around so many families who were experiencing the same grief and loss.  They dreamed of creating a program using Maine's outdoor resources that would help military families support one another.


Paul is a life-long Maine woodsman and Maine Master Guide. Dee is a former Navy "brat" who grew up in military housing and schools during the Vietnam War era.

Sgt. Joel A. House

Joel died June 23, 2007 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Joel was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

He grew up in eastern Maine in the town of Lee where he played soccer, baseball, and basketball. He also enjoyed playing the guitar, fishing, swimming, hunting and other outdoor activities.

Sgt. Blair Emery

Blair died Nov. 30, 2007 in Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He served with the 571st Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade of Fort Lewis, Wash., and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Blair graduated from Lee Academy in 2002, as a left-handed pitcher, he won the baseball game that made Lee the Eastern Maine champions. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping.

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Learn more about the House family and the tragedy that brought them to form House in the Woods.


Welcome to Lee Maine is a film about a small close-knit community in rural Maine; (pop 845) that must deal with devastating news that it has become the smallest community in America to lose two sons in the Iraqi War. Lee, Maine is a town with strong Christian, patriotic and traditional values that struggles to overcome its heartbreak. While many have very different views of the war, they are united in their support of the families and each other in their loss.

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