Sanctuary for wounded warriors to open this fall
After spending more than a year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Adam Popp longed for the simple things in life, like relaxing at a friend’s house and watching TV. “Getting out of the hospital, that was one of my favorite things to do,” says Popp, who lost his right leg while fighting in Afghanistan in 2007.
Ken and Julia Falke aim to help wounded veterans like Popp with the creation of the 37-acre Boulder Crest Retreat in the Bluemont area of Loudoun County. The free retreat, situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is set to open in September. It is designed to be a place where wounded soldiers and their families can rest, play (activities range from fly fishing to archery) and plan for the future.
This isn’t the Falkes’ first involvement with nonprofits. They founded the EOD Warrior Foundation in 2007. It provides financial assistance to the families of EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) technicians who have been injured in the line of duty. Ken Falke, himself a former bomb disposal technician, founded A-T Solutions, a counterterrorism firm in Vienna where he’s currently a shareholder. EOD Warrior Foundation provided a grant that paid travel and hotel costs, so that Popp’s family could visit him while he was at the hospital.
Shoulder 2 Shoulder Inc., a business Falke founded with Chris Ferguson in 2011, also helps wounded soldiers. The small startup has built Impact (Injured Military Personnel Assisting Combat Troops), a free, video-driven social network where wounded warriors share their stories to help reduce injuries on the battlefield and help other injured soldiers through the healing process.
The Falkes have been busy raising money for Boulder Crest, reaching $5 million of their $10 million capital campaign goal in 18 months. Half of the money will be used for construction, with the other half being used for operating expenses for the first six years.
Virginia companies that have donated to the project include Richmond-based Altria Group, McLean-based Capital One Financial, Bridgewater-based Dynamic Aviation and Vienna-based MicroTech.
Looking to the future, the Falkes plan to operate Boulder Crest using grants, a sustainable giving program and the proceeds from renting the retreat facilities for events.
“Any fundraising in today’s economy is challenging. We’ve done really well,” Ken Falke says of Boulder Crest’s progress so far.