This is just the beginning! Thoughts from Executive Director Paul House
2021 END OF YEAR
LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
If you’re anything like us, the new year is a wonderful time to reflect on the successes of the past year and look forward to what’s to come. You have contributed so much to our success this past year and we want to share encouraging news from the work you’ve made possible leading up to, and in 2021!
The most exciting news is the number of lives you’ve changed thanks to sharing your time and talents. To date, House in the Woods retreats has hosted over 1700 veterans, and looking forward to that number growing in 2022 to over 1800 veterans, active-duty military & gold-star family members. This number is just an estimate as it doesn’t account for the monthly coffee with veterans and also community-based events which are open to the general public.
It’s difficult to gauge the number of veterans’ lives that are impacted by the mission. The impact could mean something as simple as you are reading this paper today, then finding a way to go out and help veterans in a meaningful way tomorrow. That’s IMPACT, that’s CONNECTION, and we certainly desire our impact to be growing in an immeasurable way.
2022 brings with it not only 4 brand new retreats to our program, but the addition of several summer veteran “meet up” opportunities, making way to greater opportunities for veterans to gather together and once again feel that camaraderie they need so deeply and deserve.
Paul House, Executive Director of House in the Woods had this to say about the state of the mission and adding retreats, “As we grow we’re going to be able to reach more veterans, not only in the US but in the world. It’s helping not just to inspire veterans and volunteers, but other organizations. Adding retreats brings on more responsibility, but it’s going to get more people involved locally and across the country. For myself, it makes me more aware of the good work being done, and to work even harder to do the right thing. It’s very inspirational for me, and I’m sure for others, to see how it changes lives. We’re also focused on promoting others that are helping veterans, and connecting them with the resources available.”
If you know Paul there are usually snacks involved so it’s only fitting that there be a food reference, “ Helping others is like eating popcorn, you start with just one bite. Once you realize how good it is you just want more and more, and that’s what’s happening here.”
Paul goes on to say, “The mission is reaching people far beyond my expectations. God and faith have been at the forefront, and he always has been. When you see miracles and good things happening you know that it’s God, because it’s certainly something I can’t do. God changes people’s hearts minds, souls, and life in general. We never miss an opportunity to talk about our faith and about how God is behind the House in the Woods mission. He’s our inspiration and he’s the one that makes things happen. Put others first before yourself, it’s a biblical principle. For us, that’s a big thing in our lives, and our family’s life and we want that for others.”
Throughout 2021, you have helped host 70 veterans on scheduled outdoor retreats, while helping countless more through the monthly Coffee with Veterans programs rolled out this year, and other community events hosted at the House in the Woods lodge. We’ve always known that the power of connection was strong, but this monthly gathering has proven it once again.
Paul had this to say about the addition of Coffee with Veterans, “I think it’s a great way to bring veterans together. They feel relaxed, surrounded by like-minded people, and it’s become something steadfast, they can look forward to monthly. This is a simple way they can get involved with House in the Woods, sending a message they have a place to come and feel safe. It might even challenge and inspire people around us to do more for veterans. Such a simple thing to have coffee has made a difference in the lives of the veterans and volunteers attending. It’s a great way to share time with folks who may not have many others in their lives to spend time with.”
We were excited to add our house blend of coffee to our fundraising efforts in 2021. TURBO BOOST is so fitting. Turbo, our tracking dog, is right on the label. Turbo has long been known as our mascot and therapy dog for veterans, and he has become a critical component of our team. TURBO BOOST is available in stores, the lodge, and we’re working to spread it all over the country. It’s a great way to spread the word about the mission, while also encouraging people to share this time with veterans in their own homes and businesses.”
Paul is appreciative of the great support received, “The support that we’ve had in the past has enabled us to do what we’re doing now, building a great foundation to build on. With more supporters and donors coming forward we’re able to do more and reach more veterans, active-duty, and gold-star families. The gratitude we feel to our supporters is an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness. Your belief in our mission not only makes it possible to move forward another day, but it inspires us and reinforces that what we’re doing is right and we’re saving lives. Supporting House in the Woods doesn’t just change the veterans, and our team, it also changes the supporters themselves. We’ve implemented a process by which we connect our retreat sponsors directly with the veterans they are sponsoring, giving them deeper insight and into not only how and why we’re doing what we’re doing but what our veterans go through, what it means to have the support from their community, and the impact the retreats have on them. When supporters see, hear and feel the impact, it gives them a firsthand look at how they are SAVING LIVES.”
In this celebratory time of the New Year, we look back upon 2021 with gratitude for you and the difference you’ve made in the lives of our American Heroes. We’re excited to see how we, with you by our side, can change lives for the better in 2022!
House in the Woods Military & Family Retreat
TOGETHER WE HEAL