Family to make island a veterans retreat
By 2014, Bruce Montville hopes to have this family-owned island on Bow Lake developed into a retreat for veterans and their families. (Courtesy)
As Bruce Montville, founder and CEO of LifeWise Community Projects in Hampton, began to learn of the plight of returning veterans - some troubled with traumatic brain injury, physical disabilities or challenged in returning to everyday life - he began envisioning the island as a retreat for those veterans.
He talked to his family and earned its blessing to begin development of a veterans family island retreat.
The idea is still in the planning stages, but already Montville has received buy-in and support from the N.H. State Veterans Committee, local businesses and other volunteer groups.
Landscape architect Jonathan Halle, who designed the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, has agreed to create a conceptual design for the retreat.
LifeWise is the organization behind the successful Wildcat Youth Mentors program, which connects University of New Hampshire students with high school students to help improve dropout rates.
It was through these connections that Montville first started learning more about suicide prevention and the high rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among returning veterans.
"I couldn't help but say, 'these guys need something that they're not getting.' I don't have all the answers, but I have some," Montville said.
His family agreed to dedicate the island property to the retreat.
Montville also hoped for a more visible location near Northwood for a volunteer action center and logistics center for the retreat. He approached Hannaford, and the supermarket chain recently gifted a colonial farmhouse on its property on Route 4 to the organization's use.
He said only time will help the veterans heal from what they have experienced, but he wants to show them appreciation and also give them a chance to just be with their families in a safe, peaceful environment, if only for a short time.
"The idea is to give them a chance to get together, chill out, no pressure and doing everything under the sun to not remind them of military life," Montville said.
Montville's goal is to have the retreat open by the summer of 2014.
The development will keep the island as natural and wild as possible, with platform tents and firepits as opposed to cabins and running water.
"We want this island to continue to look from the outside the way it looks right now," Montville said.
He envisions eight campsites with families coming for free five-day retreats, allowing the organization to serve about 48 families each summer. The site would be open from Memorial Day through mid-September.
There is a similar retreat in Pittsburg near the Canadian border started by Chief Jon Worrall in the summer of 2011, and Montville has also been talking with him to get an idea of how the retreat might work. More information is available at the LifeWise website, www.lifewise-nh.org.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Derry Army veteran is a hit at Fenway Park - 0
- World War II veteran Stephan Lewy to receive French Legion of Honor - 0
- War hero Zamperini, inspiration for book and film 'Unbroken,' dead at 97 - 0
- Community groups prepare for fallen Marine’s services - 0
- 'Forgotten War' veterans thanked for in Concord service - 0
- Wakefield man serves aboard USS Constitution - 0
- Bikers to remember the fallen - 0
- Six Flags tickets free to veterans - 0
- Forever Young Chorus at baseball stadium - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Two vehicle crash in Milton ends with one driver sustaining fatal injuries - 0
- Portland Sea Dogs get past NH Fisher Cats in righty’s first AA start of season - 0
- Keene Swamp Bats edge Sanford in NECBL action - 0
- Manchester's Hanover St. block party kicks off block party season - 0
- Little, MacDonald 1-2 in wild K&N 100 in Loudon - 0
- Kyle Busch focused leading up to Camping World RV Sales 301 - 0
- Somersworth man charged in three incidents - 0
- Hosts hoping for extended Little League district final - 0
- Assisted living facility proposed for Londonderry - 0
Outrageous waste: You overpaid by how much?
Another View -- Tiler Eaton: The Northern Pass project would help, not hurt, NH's economy
Coco is back in jail, but maybe not for long