WASHINGTON (7News) — There is a quiet, tranquil place in Haymarket, Va. that many say saves lives. It is called the Willing Warriors Retreat.
Originally, Willing Warriors Retreat was supposed to be the retirement home for John and Shirley Dominick. It holds 30-plus acres of beautiful rolling hills nestled in the foothills of Haymarket.
So, what happened? The Dominicks said their church helped create all this.
“It got started back in 2006 when our pastor offered a challenge to the small groups to go out in the communities and do some for 40 days. That was 2006 and here we are today," said Shirley Dominick as she shared that story with a smile on her face.
Their home has now grown. With generous help from Pen-Fed, they built another home to help house veterans who are invited to just relax and reconnect with their families. They pay nothing, and meals are prepared for them, as well.
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Combat veteran Pierre Larkin was one of those who stayed at Willing Warriors Retreat with his family.
“You actually get to do what most people tell you when you are dealing with the demons of PTSD. You get to sit still. It’s that stillness that is part of being in the moment you get when you are out here," said Larkin.
Larkin who served in the Marine Corps, Air Force and the Army said this retreat really is a lifesaver.
John Dominick lights up when talking about the retreat. He said after a stay at the retreat, every veteran leaves behind comments about their experience.
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One such comment John takes with him every day is, “He wrote, just want you to know that the figure of 22 suicides a day has just been reduced by one. That’s powerful and the kind of stuff we see on a number of occasions.”
Going into 2023, the Dominicks are thrilled because their facilities are growing. PenFed is now helping construct another structure to help accommodate even more veterans.
As for John, thinking about his retirement home, “This is retirement, this is my God job and I’m loving it. I couldn’t be happier with it.”