WCC Healing Quarters
In partnership with Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and countless individual and corporate supporters, WCC is creating a premier center where Veterans and Military Family Members can come to heal from the visible and invisible wounds of war. The new Warrior Canine Connection Healing Quarters facility will provide space for the organization’s unique Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) program, as well as critical facilities needed to breed, train and partner future service dogs.
In order to realize its vision of expanding programs to tens of thousands of additional Veterans in need, WCC has embarked on an ambitious campaign to build these much-needed facilities for puppies, service dogs in training, the Warriors who train them and Veteran clients who will work with their service dogs in advance of placement.
History of the Schaeffer Road Farm
In 1938 a dairy barn was added to the Schaeffer Road Farm to provide milk for soldiers stationed in the Washington, D.C. area during World War II. Schaeffer Farm was just one of over 430 dairy barns in the Montgomery County area. The completion of the Metropolitan Branch of the B & O Railroad was a large contributor to the thriving local dairy industry in Montgomery County. The new rail transportation allowed fresh milk to be shipped into the city on a daily “milk train.”
The large barn was modified a number of times throughout the years as dairy farming technology improved. Small additions on either ends of the barn were added in the mid-1970s to accommodate newly developed mechanical systems that eliminated the need for manual milking of cows. In its hay day, the dairy farm supported nearly 900 head of cattle.
The farm will now have a new, but equally important, purpose as a tranquil, safe, healing environment for Veterans and their families.
Expanding Services to Wounded Veterans and Military Families
On May 28, 2014, State of Maryland officials approved a long-term lease on 80-acres of parkland on the grounds of Seneca Creek State Park in Montgomery County, Maryland. This site will not only accommodate WCC’s long-term needs, but is consistent with Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ commitment to “support the physical and psychological well-being of American servicemen and women injured in service to our country.”
In 2015, WCC broke ground on this comprehensive Healing Quarters facility. Located 30 minutes from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), the site has the potential to:
- increase WCC’s ability to serve thousands more recovering Veterans and their families;
- provide facilities necessary to expand the breeding program, thereby increasing the number of dogs available for new therapeutic service dog training program sites and service dog placements;
- expand opportunities for Veterans who wish to pursue careers in service dog training;
- provide critical training facilities for wounded Warriors receiving service dogs; and
- allow for the expansion of other animal-assisted therapies and forms of integrative medicine, such as equine-assisted therapy, art therapy, therapeutic farming and gardening, among others.
Today, property renovations and construction are well underway. With the help of more than 1,400 partners and friends, WCC has completed construction of a Caretaker Farmhouse, providing for round-the-clock operations, care of animals, property oversight and a temporary kennel facility.
With construction of these mission-critical buildings complete, WCC was able to relocate its headquarter operations to the new site in the summer of 2016. That summer, WCC also worked with partner companies to build a small Welcome Center, providing a comfortable environment to welcome Veterans, Military Families and visitors.
Other buildings still slated for construction include a Fire Protection Building and remodeling necessary for a Puppy Enrichment Center. Currently, WCC is working to renovate a 1938 large barn at the property to serve as the organization’s headquarters and training facilities. This building alone will add 12,600 square feet of critical space to WCC’s current operational facilities. When complete, the renovation of the Healing Quarters property will increase WCC’s capacity to support programs and services for tens of thousands of Veterans and Active Duty Service Members through its program sites nationwide.
With help from industry leaders like the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and the Steel Framing Industry Association (SFIA), WCC has assembled an all-star team of experts from around the country who have helped to guide the development of the Healing Quarters. WCC values the generous individual, corporate and foundation Capital Campaign contributors who make our work possible. We invite you to join us in this important work by making a gift today.