If you’ve ever been to Warrior Canine Connection’s Healing Quarters in Boyds, Maryland, you know it’s a sight to behold. Situated on 88-acres of Maryland state property, WCC leases a small portion of it which is surrounded by cornfields, a cattle-grazing easement and is anchored by an iconic dairy barn. Then, of course, there are the adorable service dogs in training who can be found hard at work, as well as at play in the outdoor corrals.
Built in 1938, the barn is under renovation and soon will be a haven for Warriors involved in WCC’s Mission Based Trauma Recovery Program. As with any renovation plans, many man-hours have been spent on the design plans to accommodate training areas, kennels, office space, storage and more.
Julie Walters, WCC board member and supporter, says, landscaping is often the last item on a long list of “to-dos” on a project like this. That’s why she donated eight new trees and had them installed on the grounds in the spring.
“Well, I’m a bit impatient with this process, so I decided to jump ahead of the construction schedule,” said Julie. “We need shade trees now so the dogs and trainers can use all the beautiful areas our Healing Quarters offer. And trees are an item which you wish you had planted five years ago; with that in mind, I have only started with the planting of these eight native varieties on the property. I’m not done yet!”
The eight-foot, field-raised trees have taken root around the property and along the large outdoor corral. The generous donation includes several varieties comprised of three Tulip Poplars, White Swamp Oak, Princeton Elm, Red Sunset Maple, Black Gum Wildfire and a Willow Oak.
“Julie’s support of our organization runs so deep; from being our largest, private donor to everything in between, including helping to deliver furniture —her level of support knows no bounds,” said Rick Yount, founder and executive director, WCC. “She’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves, and is just so supportive and so attentive to detail, it is just amazing to me how humble, kind and caring of a person she is to our Veterans and this organization.”
Julie, who serves as president of WCC’s board of directors, got involved with the organization 10 years ago. A self-proclaimed animal lover, Julie says she has always had cats and dogs in her life and knows full well the benefits they have given her throughout both her childhood and adult life. That’s how she knew WCC was the perfect “fit” for her involvement.
“The greatest advantage to our location at Schaeffer Farm [WCC Healing Quarters] is the peace and quiet and beauty of the natural setting,” said Julie. “It’s not a hospital or a clinic or a government installation — it’s the Maryland countryside and a very peaceful backdrop for healing and bonding and recovery for the veterans who come into our programs. With a big barn and our wide-open spaces, WCC will expand further and continue to offer the best supportive environment for our mission.”