Mother builds one-of-a-kind combat veteran retreat in honor of slain Ogle County Marine

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. (WATE) – Back in 2010, the third battalion fifth Marines were conducting operations in Afghanistan for Operation Freedom. Just one month into their tour, the Marines were attacked. Twenty-five were killed and 200 more wounded.

Rochelle native Alec Catherwood was one of those marines that lost his life that day.

Since then his mother, Gretchen Catherwood, has been on a mission of her own. That mission is to create a safe space for combat veterans once they come home.

“Just a place for them to come together and hang out and communicate with other veterans who have been where they’ve been,” said Gretchen Catherwood, the founder of Darkhorse Lodge in Springfield, Tennessee.

Catherwood broke ground on the lodge back in 2016. Operating on donations alone, the organization has raised more than $700,000.

Rochelle-native Aubrey Headon helped raise thousands of dollars to build several cabins for the retreat.

Now the walls are up and the electrical is in, but there is still a lot more work to be done.

“We’re not giving up, we will keep going until the first guest walks through the door,” she said.

Once the lodge is open the veterans who risked it all will have a safe place to call their own and get the VIP treatment they deserve.

“This is for active duty veterans and veterans who are no longer serving but if they’re a combat veteran they are welcome to a five to six-day stay free of charge,” said Catherwood.

Veterans will not only have a free place to stay at the lodge they will also enjoy fishing trips and wood-working classes as well as other activities.

If you would like to donate to Darkhorse Lodge, click here.

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