On June 23rd, 2007, Sgt. Joel House was killed in an explosion while serving our country.
More than six years later, If you take a look around the House family’s home, you’ll see their son is in the forefront of every family picture.
“It gives us a satisfaction and a piece to know that my son didn’t die in vain. He died protecting our country,” said Paul House, Joel’s father.
Three years after their sons death,Paul and Deanna House created the non profit foundation, House in the Woods.
House said, “We started taking veterans, active duty members and their families on fishing and hunting trips.”
Something this father said he enjoyed doing with his son. “It’s not just about the hunting and fishing. It’s about the camaraderie.”
The retreats help veterans with the struggles of returning to civilian life.
The founding couple plans to find a more permanent home for the retreat. Right now, people have donated services and family camps where the vets can stay.
On these trips, Men and Woman who fought in Korea to those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan get to know each other.
The founder said, “You talk to the younger and older vets and they’re going through the same thing.”
House explains how it brings him joy to put a smile back on a vets face. “It’s just good to see them open up and the gratitude. Some we see tear up, some will share things they won’t share even with their own family.”
For those struggling, they find out they’re not alone. Joel’s father said “Some of them have told me they were contemplating suicide before they came to our program and now these very vets are helping us.”
While many volunteers donate services and camps for the guests to stay, House hopes for a more permanent home so he can help even more vets. But for now, a weekend in the woods might be just what the doctor ordered.
“It will change your life. If you come to this program it will change your life,” said House.
If you’d like to donate to the retreat fund, you can send a check to: House In the Woods Military and Family Retreat, 2819 Lee Road, Lee, ME 04455 or visit their website at houseinthewoods.org.