Group seeks to give veterans respite in DairylandA group in Dairyland in Douglas County is trying to create the first outdoor retreat in Northern Wisconsin for veterans.
By: By Jessica Hamilton/Wisconsin Public Radio , Superior Telegram
A group in Dairyland in Douglas County is trying to create the first outdoor retreat in Northern Wisconsin for veterans.
Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat Founder Judy Zimmerman had a grandson killed in Iraq. It got her talking to a family friend with the VFW in New Richmond about how there is nothing for veterans in the northern area. That’s when she came up with the idea of the Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat.
“I just asked him, why couldn’t we just have something here and he said there’s no reason why you can’t,” Zimmerman said. “So I brought it to our planning commission in the town and they loved the idea and we brought it to our town board and they loved the idea and we brought it to the town’s people and they loved it and it was a unanimous vote.”
She says it has been quite an adventure trying to get it started the last year and a half but has had a lot of support from the town.
“It will provide them a place of peace and tranquility with their co veterans and brothers and sisters, and a place they can come to, to decompress if you want to say,” Zimmerman said.
Activities the veterans and their families will be able to enjoy at the retreat include ATV and snowmobiling, hunting and fishing and even teach them ricing.
Zimmerman says so far they have raised somewhere between $12,000 and $13,000 but will need close to $160,000 to finish the building phases. She says they are struggling but it could be a lot worse.
“We have been doing nothing but fundraising until we got our 501 but of course it’s struggling, everything depends on money, always does and always will. But we have been able to pay our bills and get our permits and do what we’ve had to do with the money that we have fundraised.”
Zimmerman says the process of opening the Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat is one-step closer but three phases still need to be completed. The phases include creating the lodging where the veterans will be staying.
“We’re doing the campground part of the camping pads and the RV’s and the ground infrastructure and the electrical will be the first phase, and then the second phase will be the cabins and the third phase will be the lodge.”
There will be camping and RV pads with electricity hook up as well as nine 2, 3 and 4 bedroom cabins. There will also be a 28-room lodge with a great room, dining room, kitchen and laundry facilities.
Zimmerman says when they finish raising the money, they’ll open the retreat.