Updated: Dec 21, 2020
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Founded in 2018 by Gold Star Wife, Keri Anne, this 501©3 non-profit organization is run out of a well repurposed barn. In my first conversation with Keri Anne I was struck by her passion, but after learning of her personal ties to the veteran community I could understand where it came from. Keri Anne is a Gold Star Wife, mother of a serviceman, and her extended family’s roots run deep in our national service.
Keri Anne lost her husband Tom, a veteran of Vietnam in 2012, and spent the following years working through the grieving process. After finding peace through Pathways Core Training, she felt ready to take the next hill. For Kerri Anne that meant enrolling in college courses, pursuing a business degree. It was on campus that she saw the extreme needs of the veterans around her; while still a student herself, she would bring her classmates home to keep them from sleeping in their cars, provide them a hot meal, and help them navigate the VA’s bureaucracy. During that time, she made contacts in the veteran community and slowly but surely, the dream of Valor Ranch was born.
After graduating college in 2017, Keri Anne decided to sell her suburban home, where she and Tom had raised their children, and put everything into starting the non-profit.
Services offered to 'sheroes' (female veterans) living on the ranch will consist of life skills courses like resume writing and business planning; the ladies will also get legal and family reunification support, counseling services, and eventually, group counseling services that will extend to the local community. Sheroes at Valor Ranch will learn to care for animals, grow crops, can food, and find peace in their new lives outside of the military.
The ranch was purchased in 2018, with an existing barndominium which was remodeled to become a 2bed/1bath home, with a large living room.
The bulk of their renovation took approximately 3 months and improvements are still ongoing.
<---the common area, before/after opening up the walls and ceiling.
The renovation budget was $20,000.
The main goals for the barn conversion were to make it a common area/mess hall for the ladies on the ranch, with hopes to one day build a separate building to house a commercial kitchen, classroom, counseling office, general storage, and an ADA compliant bathroom with shower facilities.
The project ended up costing them $25,000 since a bad contractor took off with $10,000 mid-build.
Their favorite parts of their barndominium are:
1,000 sqft open concept living and kitchen area
uniqueness of the build
If they could do it again, they would:
not get taken for $10,000.00
finish it completely before they moved in
Kerri Anne says
"Overall, we love the Barndo. Especially since we took down all but two of the existing walls. We started with a blank canvas and put our own touch on it. 90% of the home was remodeled on a shoestring budget using materials from an old beat up tin barn. You'll see parts of it covering our ceiling throughout the barndo. The wood beam down the center came from a historic courthouse in a nearby town. The light over the 4’ x 10’ kitchen table was made from a torn down church building and a cedar log found in a friend’s pasture. The screen door hanging over the 4’ x 8’ kitchen island is now a pot rack. Our faux barn and porch loft serve as an attic area, which we built from old decking wood. The swing on our back porch was brought with us from our home in the suburbs. There isn't much we'd do different, we built it exactly how we wanted. Design on a Dime…"
Remodeling the barn rather than building a traditional home allowed them to save for the things they dreamed of like:
-building facilities for livestock
-working the land to prepare for gardens and future buildings such as cottages and the common area
In November of 2019, the ranch was awarded a grant, allowing them to purchase 4 individual 489 sqft cottages.
Each cottage is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, refrigerator, and stove but not much else. By networking in the community and expressing their needs, Valor Ranch was able to outfit the cottages with furniture and make them feel like home, but they are still in need of a few items like couches, coffee tables, pots and pans.
To make contributing to the ranch easier, Valor Ranch established an Amazon wishlist. All purchases are tax deductible and get dropped shipped directly to the ranch.
If you would like to make a donation via their Amazon list, click the picture below.
Once you make a purchase please email Valor Ranch with your contact information and address so they may send you a proper thank you to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to see the ranch in person and get involved with their mission, you can attend their ribbon cutting ceremony on November 14th.
Free tickets are available, just click the image below!