About 40 employees volunteered Saturday to help preserve the serenity of a warrior respite by cleaning out a babbling stream and weeding lawns.
Nestled in Snickers Gap, at the base of the Western Blue Ridge mountains, is a place dedicated to our nation’s veterans’ recovery. Boulder Crest was founded by Ken Falke, a former Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician who was badly wounded back in 1989. He and his wife donated 37 acres of their own mountainside to build the facility which offers services like equine therapy, horticulture, archery and other therapeutic activities to veterans working toward physical and emotional recovery.
The Falkes rely mostly on donations to keep the facility operating – and they rely on volunteers to help keep the place looking pristine. That’s where NewDay comes in.
About 40 employees, from senior managers to recent graduates, boarded a bus at the company’s Fulton headquarters Saturday morning at 7am and made the trip to Bluemont. First they were treated to a tour, lead by Boulder Crest’s Executive Director, Dusty Baxley who talked to them about the weight carried by service members returning from multiple deployments, or who were seriously wounded.
“NewDay has been with us from the beginning,” said Falke. “It’s been amazing to see the growth not only in the employees, but here as well. When you bring in 50 people to work for three hours, you can do the math, that would cost us a fortune. But it’s not just about the money, it’s about partnerships that make people feel good - and service to others.”
Kevin Murray, Assistant Vice President for Purchase at NewDay, says the volunteer work helps him to relate to veterans he talks with on the phone at work.
“Hearing the stories (here) of what they go through with PTSD, we can feel that as we’re working - and hearing about some of the things that help them – it seems like they do a great job helping them get back to being their normal selves.”
“I left my phone on the bus, I left my keys on the bus I got nothing in my pockets – just looking for a day of adventure,” said Gavin Loney, a NewDay Account Executive, who took Baxley’s advice to “be in the moment” while experiencing the retreat. “I try to do that- it’s a problem these days,” said Loney.
Last summer, NewDay employees, over a series of weekends, helped build a barn at Boulder Crest.