Veterans Join Lee Military Retreat’s First Fishing Trip 

A retreat program in Lee is working to help military veterans and their families heal. The non-profit “House in the Woods” was started in memory of Sgt. Joel House, of Lee, who was killed while serving in Iraq three years ago.Today, his father hosted the retreat’s first fishing trip.”We just started today. It’s our first official group of veterans coming and it’s just a good feeling to finally get this underway.”It’s been a few years since Paul House and his family got the idea for a retreat, a “House in the Woods,” bringing together veterans and military families who’ve lost loved ones. On the agenda for this trip in Lakeville– chasing salmon.”It’s just great seeing them together and talking. And that’s what this program is about. It’s so our veterans that served our country can come, relax and have a good time. And enjoy life,” House says.Marlon Weaver of Bangor says he was here, getting back to living his life after experiences in Kuwait and Iraq.”Many of the veterans that came home, like I did in 2004 and 2005, we were really just dealing with issues that were unfamiliar to us,” Weaver says. “Coming home is where the real battle takes place. Because things just weren’t the same. The way that you think isn’t the same, the way that you talk isn’t the same. You have to get adjusted to back to being normal.”That’s why the folks here say just going fishing or hunting, or anything, with people who understand where you’re coming from is a help.”We eventually want this to be a national event for our veterans from all over and survivor families. And that’s our goal, is to help them come out and realize there are things to do and there is life. And you can continue and have fun,” House says.Paul House and his family know. They started this program in honor of their son, Joel, who was killed while serving in Iraq.”With Mr. House opening up a program like this, they honor their son’s memory,” Weaver says. “I think the House family, they are a blessing.”And Weaver says it’s a fitting tribute to Joel and others, to honor their memories by living the best lives that they can.The program received its official non-profit status a few weeks ago. They’re now looking for grants to help expand the retreat and open it up for more people to visit.