It’s been two years since we announced our $300,000 capital campaign to build a bunkhouse at the Ranch, that would enable us to host more veterans for more retreats. We’re proud to share that you all have contributed $225,000 so far, and we are now 75% to our goal.
But we also want you to know that your donations are having an impact today.
Because of you, we’ve hosted 62 guests for 8 retreats at the Ranch and 1 reunion right here on Shelter Island at The Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve.
We have released a new video with testimonials from veterans who have attended retreats at the Ranch and the reunion on the Island, so you can hear directly from the people that you are helping.
We are proud of what has been accomplished so far, but we know we can do more.
This Memorial Day weekend Shelter Island school students and veterans will come together for our first leadership retreat at the Ranch in New Mexico.
In June members of the 106th Rescue Wing from Westhampton Beach, who took part in a retreat at the Ranch in February, will come together again for our second reunion retreat on the Island.
The 106th’s retreat was particularly meaningful to our family. It was the first time we hosted a female military service member. It was the first time all retreat attendees came from the same unit. And it was the first time all attendees had a shared experience to discuss.
On March 18, 2018, a helicopter carrying seven National Guard members crashed in western Iraq near the Syrian border. Everyone died, including four guardsmen from the 106th.
This tragedy struck especially close because unlike other branches of the military, the National Guard doesn’t move its members around every few years. Everyone affected by the helicopter crash has longtime roots in the Long Island region. Our region.
So it is also particularly meaningful to be bringing the 106th to our home, Shelter Island, for a reunion in June — a month that is so hard for our family, because it is when we lost Joe.
At the end of the 106th’s retreat one participant told us, “After experiencing loss or tragedy, many people don’t want to speak of the event or the person/people involved, because it brings up too many painful feelings. However, the ranch program made me realize … You’re not alone.”
Because of all of you, after Joe died our family never felt alone.
Thank you for helping us make this possible for others.