Cabin in the Woods Groundbreaking: A Great Day

Celebrating Years of Work on a Perfect Day

It was finally Friday, May 19, the day before Armed Services Day. It was the day for Volunteers of America's Groundbreaking Celebration for Cabin in the Woods. The weather was perfect.

Years of planning, grant writing, permit gathering, and building collaborative partnerships with US Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Maine Healthcare System, Maine State Housing Authority, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Bangor Savings Bank have been invested in this important project.

"We wanted to create a remote living environment that felt like rural Maine, yet would be close to services if the residents need them," said Volunteers of America Northern New England President/CEO June Koegel.
Cabin in the Woods is within walking distance of the Togus campus.

As volunteers set up chairs under the tent, reporters and cameras began to gather. Veterans of all ages spoke with each other. Representatives from the legislature introduced themselves to people in the crowd. First Lady Ann LePage, a champion of veterans' causes, joined in conversation. Handshakes and smiles were abundant. And at 10:00, everyone took a seat for the invocation and remarks.

After June welcomed everyone, Debbie Myers sang the Star Spangled Banner. Reverend Mike Merrill offered the invocation and remarks were made by Mark Weisendanger, Director of Development, Maine State Housing Authority; Ryan Lilly, Director, VA Maine Healthcare System; Bill Burney, Field Office Director US Department of Housing and Urban Development; Bruce Calmes, Home Depot Topsham Store Manager (Representing the Home Depot Foundation); and Mike Michaud, former US Assistant Secretary of Labor and former US Congressman.

The crowd then moved into the sunlight for a ceremonial groundbreaking. Phones and cameras clicked away while various people picked up shovels and donned hardhats. It was a perfect day.

Click on the image below to see a youtube video.

Groundbreaking movie

Bulldozers began their work weeks ago clearing land and building roads into the 22 house sites. They will build through the summer with expected full occupancy in January 2018.

Click on the photo below to see a 360 degree view of the site:

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