Justin Brown, founder of HillVets (left), and Ken Falke of Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont. Contributed photo.
Ken Falke, Founder and Chairman of Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, has been placed on the HillVets 100 list for 2016, and Boulder Crest Retreat is recognized with the Nonprofit of the Year Award for innovation in the mental healthcare area. This is the second annual HillVets 100 event, in which the organization chooses 100 distinguished people from a pool of veterans nationwide to make the distinguished list of those making a significant difference in the lives of our nation's veterans.
In the fall of 2015, HillVets requested nominations for the second annual HillVets 100 award. The HillVets 100 highlights the most influential and impactful veterans, service members and supporters from 2015.
"I am personally honored and humbled to make this very prestigious list and more honored by the selection of the Retreat as the best nonprofit of the year," said Ken Falke, chairman and founder of the Boulder Crest Retreat. "Our mission is to change the way our country deals with veterans with combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I know our PATHH program is leading this change."
Justin Brown, founder of HillVets, said, “When the HillVets 100 selection committee looked at which nonprofits are making the biggest impact for veterans, Ken Falke and Boulder Crest Retreat jumped out right away. As the nation's first privately-funded rural wellness center dedicated exclusively to our nation's combat veterans and their families, BCR’s impact is undeniable." Brown said choosing just one winner for the organization's Nonprofit of the Year Award was challenging, and HillVets are proud to highlight the work of Boulder Crest Retreat. The issue of mental health is of utmost importance to the veteran's community, and BCR’s innovative approach is a game changer. It’s an incredible place doing incredible things for incredible people," he continued.
Boulder Crest Retreat welcomes combat veterans who are active-duty, reserve and National Guard, veterans, family members and caregivers, and Gold Star Families. Boulder Crest Retreat is a nonprofit organization that is funded entirely by private donations from individuals and organizations from around the country. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel serves as Honorary Chair for the HillVets 100 event that took place March 22. He is also a Boulder Crest Retreat Honorary Board member.
"As an Honorary Board member of Boulder Crest Retreat, I am continually impressed by their innovative and strength-based approach to the combat stress recovery process," said former Secretary Hagel. The recognition from HillVets is well deserved and reflects an understanding that our nation's combat veterans possess unique skills and abilities desperately needed here at home."
Outgoing Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) Chairman Mike Haynes has announced that Will Estrada was elected by the membership of the LCRC to serve as the committee’s next Chairman after Estrada’s unopposed bid. His term will begin in March.
“I am excited to see the new leadership team led by Will quickly becoming involved,” stated Haynes. “I’m turning over the reins to a very capable person and have every confidence in Will’s leadership.”
As an experienced LCRC leader, serving previously as the committee’s Second Vice Chairman, and a public policy veteran on the local, state, and national stages, Will Estrada possesses the experience and vision necessary to achieve widespread Republican victories for the Commonwealth’s bellwether county in November, said Haynes “Will Estrada is exactly the type of leader that the LCRC needs going into this election cycle, and I’m excited that the LCRC membership has selected him.”
The 6th annual Loudoun Grown Expo took place at the Historic Bush Tabernacle in Purcellville last Saturday, Feb. 27. Approximately 1,500 visitors came from near and far to enjoy the produce offered by community-supported agriculture (CSAs), information from growers and producers, tastings from Loudoun's wineries and breweries, local food vendors, and arts and crafts from local artisans.
The Town of Purcellville had organized this event until this year, but when it was cut from the budget, the non-profit Bush Tabernacle stepped up to the plate and continued the tradition. Philip Message, president of the Bush Tabernacle, said that "this is one of the Purcellville's Signature Events that people have come to expect, and we're thrilled to keep it going."
Purcellville Town Councilwoman Joan Lehr attended the event and said she is thrilled that Message was able to take over the event and do so well this year. "I am looking forward to watching the event grow," she said.
With assistance from his wife France, co-organizer Daniel Abramson, the Purcellville Citizen's Support Team, and the 40 vendors that show-cased the best of Loudoun, Message helped make this year's Expo as successful as ever. Several changes were made to the event this year, including a $2 admission charge for those who live outside the Town, extended hours, and a balanced variety of vendors.
According to Message, "The vendors loved the extended hours because there wasn't the "mad rush" seen in prior years, and it gave them more time to interact one-on-one with the attendees."For Message, this was a learning curve, he said, â€œbut we think it went really well."
Kellie Bowles, Agricultural Development Officer for the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, said she was pleased with the visitor turnout in this transition year for the Expo. "One farm winery vendor reported a 23% increase in sales over the 2015 Expo. We always meet new customers for Loudoun Grown products and talk to landowners interested in expanding their agricultural operations,” said Bowles.
Another vendor, Helen Polishuk of Potomac Vegetable Farm, shared Message's sentiments. She was pleased that she had the opportunity to talk with the attendees about the CSAs and share her interest for farming.
The primary sponsors of the event were the Town of Purcellville, Loudoun County Dept. of Economic Development, Tari Orthodontics, and Movement Mortgage.
Message said, "At the end of the event, we surveyed all the vendors asking what changes they'd like to see for next year, and the overwhelming response was "none just keep on doing what you're doing; thank you, and we'll be back next year!"