Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation Celebrates Successful Completion of $7.5 Million ‘Home for Healing’ Capital Campaign After Receiving Major Gift
(Bozeman, MT.) Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation is celebrating the official close of the independent, nonprofit’s first-ever Capital Campaign. The ‘Home for Healing’ Campaign, which began a quiet phase in 2014, was publically launched in October of 2015. The Campaign’s goal of $7,000,000 was met and exceeded this summer for a grand total of $7,566,095. “The Campaign had an ambitious goal; but thanks to the loyalty, trust and commitment previously demonstrated by our donors, the Board of Directors and staff simply knew the goal would be reached,” said Faye Nelson, Executive Director of Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation (WQW).
Named “Quiet Waters Ranch,” WQW’s new property on 112 acres north of Bozeman is comprised of a 10,000 square foot main house with a separate structure to accommodate several volunteers. Quiet Waters Ranch opened May 2, 2016 to six combat veterans and their spouses as part of WQW’s Couples Fishing Experience.
Long-standing supporters Tim and Mary Barnard of Bozeman recently pledged $1,000,000 to cap off the Campaign. The main home at Quiet Waters Ranch will be named “Barnard Lodge” in honor of their generosity and dedication. “While we are happy to assist this wonderful program meet its goals, the reality is, that our gift pales in comparison to what our Warriors have given to us,” said Tim Barnard.
The foundation’s mission is to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of post-9/11 combat veterans through the experience of fly fishing in Montana. Board Chair, Joe Esparza, describes the vision of this nine-year old organization and the reason for its first capital campaign. “WQW provides a meaningful reintegration program for our nation’s combat veterans returning from the battlefield with unique challenges,” he said. “For many years, we were heavily dependent on the area’s vacation rental market for warrior accommodations which are at the heart of our program. As the years went by, being able to manage the organization’s bottom line or expand the program became increasingly more expensive and inefficient.”
According to Nelson, “The impact of everyone’s generosity has already taken effect. Over the winter, we applied 23% of the total raised for renovations to the lodge-like home. We wanted the home to be ADA accessible to any veteran with physical injuries. These improvements included renovating the bathrooms, installing a platform lift capable of reaching multiple levels in the home, building paths and ramps where necessary, and adding a buffet accessible by wheelchair. We also furnished the entire dwelling with help from several local businesses and constructed two ponds to be used for fly fishing instruction and practice.”
Vanessa Keeslar, a caregiver married to a double amputee, said of the accommodations, “being able to enjoy ourselves together is great; but not having to worry about [my husband] getting around the place on his own makes it even better.” Patrick Myers, who also lost his legs in battle, concurred, “I was worried before I came here but once I got here and knew I could get wherever I need to. You can’t put a price on that.”
In addition to renovations and improvements, the Campaign also allowed the organization to purchase the
property, and establish two endowments, one for long-term maintenance and management of Quiet Waters
Ranch and a second for annual program operations. Half of the Barnard’s contribution will make possible
necessary renovations and improvements and half will support the maintenance and management endowment.
Eric Hastings, WQW Co-Founder, Board Chair Emeritus and Campaign Chair, gives his particular thanks to board members past and present, to those who helped scrutinize, shape, then seize his original vision, that together propelled the campaign in such a timely and effective fashion. “Now we can consistently offer each warrior and spouse that participates the much needed respite, camaraderie, support and confidence they need without sacrificing his or her comfort and safety,” he said. “We are so thankful to our 355 donors and many volunteers both locally and nationwide for their support. This has truly been a community effort.”
Ten Fishing Experiences are planned in 2016 serving a total of 84 combat warriors and some of their spousal caregivers. With the acquisition of Quiet Waters Ranch, the organization plans to host more warriors and expand upon the current Fishing Experience model, according to Nelson. “WQW is definitely the ‘gold standard’ for therapeutic fishing activities,” said Thatcher Beatty, US Army Neuropsychologist (Ret.).
“We are excited about the outcomes of this Campaign. One is of course that we will be able to continue to enrich the lives of participants through the camaraderie they will share with each other and with our loving volunteers at Quiet Waters Ranch. The other is a gift for the future; we can now focus our efforts on strengthening and adapting WQW programs to meet the changing reintegration needs of post-9/11 combat veterans, according to Esparza. “Our work continues.”
ABOUT WARRIORS AND QUIET WATERS FOUNDATION, INC.:
Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation is an independent nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization. WQW’s mission is to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of post-9/11 combat veterans through the experience of fly fishing in Montana. Since the organization’s inception, WQW has provided 545 combat veterans with a therapeutic flyfishing experience. For more information, visit www.warriorsandquietwaters.org.
Gayle L. Whittenberg
Director of Development
Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation
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