By Sara GoodeyonJune 6, 2013
SKIATOOK, Okla. - A healing retreat for Wounded Warriors and their families is now complete at Skiatook Lake, a project managed by the Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in northern Oklahoma. The official ribbon cutting for the cottage was Sunday, May 26.
The Honor Cottage is a 1,100 square foot getaway tucked into a secluded hillside at CrossTimbers Marina overlooking the lake, to take advantage of the healing and restorative power of water.
It is dedicated for the exclusive and cost-free use of veterans served by Folds of Honor Foundation. Its construction was possible through a partnership between the Tulsa District USACE, the Skiatook Economic Development Authority, CrossTimbers Marina owner Ron Howell, and the Folds of Honor Foundation.
"The partnership the Corps has with Ron Howell and the town of Skiatook began when the Corps began to look for ways to expand recreation at our lakes," said Col. Michael Teague, Tulsa District commander during remarks at the ceremony. "CrossTimbers came out of a public/private partnership and it has led to the ability for us to work together to get this first-of-its-kind cottage built at Skiatook for Wounded Warriors. The military believes that a fallen comrade is never left behind, and there are things we can do to help them such as this cottage. There is no way the Corps would have been able to get this cottage built for our soldiers without the partnership with CrossTimbers and Folds of Honor and their ability to do this."
Veteran Robert Jackson, who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2003, cut the ribbon as his wife and six children watched. Jackson voiced his concerns about the well-being of wounded vets and noted that 22 veterans committed suicide in May alone.
Retired Army Maj. Ed Pulido, senior vice president of Folds of Honor, said the cottage is a message to the families that their country loves them, supports them, and welcomes them home.
"At the end of the day, when you're recovering from a traumatic brain injury or post traumatic stress, this is a great place for recovery," said Pulido, who lost part of his leg while serving in Iraq in 2004.
The cottage is funded by a $250,000 investment of donated funds from the Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization that provides spouses and children of the wounded and fallen educational scholarships. Now retired Oklahoma Air National Guard pilot Maj. Dan Rooney founded the Oklahoma-based organization.