Patriot Lacrosse Players Volunteer at Bull Run Warrior Retreat

| April 27, 2015 | 0 Comments | Community

Patriot Lacrosse Players gather together by the Bull Run Warrior Retreat flag circle.

Saturday, the Patriot Boys Varsity and J.V. Lacrosse team cleaned up brush and debris, clearing land at the Bull Run Warrior Retreat in Greater Haymarket, sponsored by the nonprofit Serve Our Willing Warriors.

When the retreat opens in July, it will serve as a transitional retreat for wounded warriors from around the country. It is designed as a place where wounded military veterans can reconnect with their families after leaving Walter Reed or Ft. Belvoir hospitals.

Head Varsity Coach, Shane Allen, in cooperation with a league of parents who spearhead fundraisers for the team, chose the scenic 37-acre site on Waterfall Road for the boy’s community service project. Allen said the idea was to do something for Patriots by Patriots.

“We’re trying to instill in the kids that we are very lucky to have people who sacrifice for this country. It is actually a privilege to do this knowing that we are going to make somebody’s life a little better,” Allen said.

Project Manager Nancy Spencer said the boys made a tremendous dent in clearing the debris to make way for wheelchair accessible nature trails to be built.


Players and adults collect debris.

“These guys have done more in a few hours than we have had done in months. I’ve never seen such real passion. We just point at something, and it’s done,” Spencer said.

Team mother Susan Reynolds said many of the boys have demonstrated their leadership abilities by engaging in the challenging work and directing others. She pointed out some exemplary team members.

Sophomore Tyler Puhlich helped move wood and mulch on the property.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Puhlich said. “It’s good team building, and everyone is bonding and helping out.”

Junior Brad McCoy and his brother Shane, freshman, helped to remove a wire fence, moved wood and got rid of a sinkhole caused by sewage. Brad said he really enjoyed the work.

“It feels great. It’s good, natural work and it’s helping a really good cause. These people have done so much. I think it’s going to be a really nice retreat for them to transition back into their lives.”

Senior Tanner Boucher said this is the first community service project his team has done as a full group. He believes it helped them to develop their team dynamics.

“Once we have a goal, we all work towards that same goal. It can translate on to the field as a bunch of individuals working as one unit.”


Lacrosse players huddle together to take direction from their coach.

Freshman Brennan Higgins explained it was an honor to participate in such a noble purpose.

“[I’m honored to be] doing a good job for the men and women of the United States that do so much for our country. It’s always nice to give something back and to give thanks.”

In addition to the scenic location, the site includes a large house that can house three to five families. The house includes a large kitchen, dining room, three master bedroom suites, children’s bedroom dorms, a living room, great room, media room, bar and billiards room, kid’s game room, gym, 11 bathrooms, patio, deck and elevator. Plus, an on-site apartment for a ground keeper and an office and conference room for volunteers.

Eventually, Spencer said they plan to build three additional cottages on the property.

All of the elegant furnishings, flooring, appliances, tables, chairs and cabinets, even dishes and utensils, have been donated by businesses in the community. Serve Our Willing Warriors is still accepting donations to finish furnishing the house and complete the deck.

Spencer imagines veterans will stay at the retreat for a week, using the time to relax and reconnect with family in a safe, vacation-like environment. The families will also be able to enjoy restaurants and local entertainment, such as movies, paintball and shopping, also donated by the community.

ClearingThe retreat was purchased by John and Shirley Dominick. The couple used to volunteer at Walter Reed with Park Valley Church. After years of volunteering, John along with others started the nonprofit organization, Serve Our Willing Warriors (SOWW). As it grew, the organization wanted to give transitioning wounded warriors a retreat.

While the nonprofit was unable to afford the property, John, who is a real estate broker, purchased it on their behalf. After SOWW raised enough charitable funds, he sold the property to the nonprofit.

Now, John looks forward to the retreat’s opening planned for the 4th of July with a community event.

He thanks the Patriot lacrosse players for their hard work and all the other groups of scouts and teams that have volunteered for Serve Our Willing Warriors.

Readers can find out more about SOWW at

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