Just south of the circle which marks the entrance to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Schaffer Road sits a one-lane farm road which leads to an old farmhouse, barn, stable, and a wonderful 80-acre vision of the future for our nation’s veterans returning from combat.
Boyds-based Warrior Canine Connection has been working towards creating a special place in the Germantown-area. The Warrior Canine Connection has been working at the site since 2016, training puppies to become service dogs for veterans from throughout the United States, however, the larger vision of the property includes restoration of the dairy barn built more than 75 years ago.
The Healing Quarters will sit on 80-acres of Maryland State Park land, just 20 miles from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and when completed, will provide WCC with a comprehensive facility where it can fulfill its mission to leverage the human-canine bond to help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury in wounded warriors.
Recently, the WCC gave a sneak peek at its restoration plans for its 1938 dairy barn, the central figure of its multi-million-dollar capital construction project. The project is part of WCC’s vision to expand its programs to tens of thousands of additional Veterans in need.
Project partner, Associated General Contractors of America, has been instrumental in making this project a reality by generously donating time, expertise and funds toward the project, which AGC has selected as its Centennial Project. The charitable arm of AGC donated $265,000 to support the restoration of the dairy barn and support the work that WCC does to help veterans.
The barn will become the home-base for the group’s Mission Based Trauma Recovery program, where veterans who are having a difficult time coping with life after their service either from PTSD or because of injuries and disabilities suffered while in the service can come to live for months at a time and help to train the puppies that will eventually become service dogs for other veterans suffering from similar afflictions.
Talking about the donation from AGC, Warrior Canine Connection’s executive director Rich Yount said, “We are very grateful,and this barn is going to help us heal many, many thousands of veterans in the future.”
Michael Anderson, the chairman of AGC Charities, said that his organization sees this as an opportunity to help “wounded veterans” rebuild their lives. Anderson said, “Considering how much Warrior Canine Connection has already accomplished while working out of a glorified garage, it is easy to see how its impact will grow once its new headquarters opens.”
In addition to breeding and training service dogs, the new facility will provide career training, and may allow for the expansion of other Animal Assisted Therapies and forms of integrative medicine, such as Equine Assisted Therapy, creative arts therapy, and therapeutic farming and gardening.
Top: Warrior Canine Connection receives major donation to support work on restoring the 1938 dairy barn that will become the Healing Quarters in Boyds.
Next: WCC executive director Robin Yount receives a donation check from Michael Anderson, the chairman of AGC Charities at a press event at the WCC’s Healing Quarters last month.
Next: WCC trains puppies to become service dogs for veterans.
Next: The work to restore the barn has been ongoing and the multi-year renovation and construction project of the site in Germantown is completed, WCC estimates the new Healing Quarters and additional program locations will allow the organization to serve more than 48,000 veterans and active duty service members by 2025.
Photos by Germantown Pulse