Chesty Puller House - Veterans
Did you know that 22 veterans are committing suicide EVERY DAY in America?
Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller was a United States Marine Corps lieutenant general and one of the most decorated members of the Marine Corps. Puller is the only Marine and one of two US servicemen to ever be awarded five Navy Crosses.
Some do not know that Chesty's Puller's son, Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr. (generally known as Lewis Puller), served as a Marine lieutenant in the Vietnam War. While serving with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines (2/1), Lewis Jr. was severely wounded by a mine explosion, losing both legs and parts of his hands.
Chesty Puller broke down sobbing at seeing his son for the first time in the hospital.
On May 11, 1994 Puller Jr. died due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The Vietnam-wounded son of a WWII hero - Chesty, a man still revered today - his son killed himself. We like to think that we have better support systems in place today, but the truth is, we have a long way to go.
Serious issues continue to this day - the bureaucracy within the VA and the backlog of injured vets contributes to the high number of servicemen and servicewomen who just cannot take it anymore.
It just so happens that the current owners of Chesty Puller's house are selling it. That's right - CHESTY'S HOUSE IS FOR SALE on a lovely 3.37 acres of Virginia greenery.
We want to make the Chesty Puller Home a place of refuge for those who are in need of help.
WHO WE ARE:
Our non-profit group, 3000+ strong USMC Family, is negotiating to purchase this house and make it a place for veterans to stay for short periods of time to get back on their feet. We have spoken with the local realtor, zoning board, and have gotten clearance to make this a reality. Now comes the hard part - getting the money. We are looking into loans as well as fundraising, but we have little time to get things put together as the attention given to this house has exploded since it went viral on the interwebs.
Our group specializes in doing all we can to prevent veteran suicide. This will be our flagship undertaking. All donations received will be placed into a trust - no one individual will benefit from this effort. Should we fail to raise the money for this, every cent of money raised will be donated to Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund and Fisher House Foundation (both of which have A or A+ listings at charitywatch.org).
HOW WE WILL KEEP IT RUNNING:
Our plans to continue funding the home after it is purchased include keeping one of the rooms open for rental from anyone - meaning you could sleep under the same ceiling as Chesty did! This probably means a lot more to you if you were a Marine or related to a Marine or just love the military, but we believe this is a great source of continued funding.
Also, we would rent the grounds of the Puller home for weddings, reunions, and other events. The property would be occupied by veterans who refrained from drug and alcohol use during their short term tenancy. Help to find counseling, patient advocacy, and a friendly ear will be things that veterans can find during their stay at the Puller House.
The sky is the limit, and Chesty would want it this way. Owned by Marines, managed by Marines, and FOR Marines. (Other veterans will not be excluded).
More details to come - we will be transparent with the funds and the plans for the home. This is a home FOR VETS BY VETS. Chesty's House
The home is for sale now for $395K. We are (ASAP) turning in a cash offer on this house and land with a 30 day contingency - meaning if we don't have the cash in hand in 30 days we lose the contract and it goes to the next buyer. We have local Marines on site who are visiting the house to ensure the worth is correct and that our offer is proper.
Additional money here is needed to establish simple yet nice furnishings, develop the website and materials, as well as low budget marketing to places like MCL, VA, and other Veteran organizations to ensure awareness is raised that veterans have this option. No one will get paid from the money raised here. All of it will go into making the house and the various activities needed to establish the house a reality.
Lastly, I have contacted GoFundMe to ask for a discount on the commission they take from each donation so that donors get more bang for their buck. I am not expecting a miracle, but I am going to try.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
WE ARE SHORT ON TIME. We need to raise the money for this in 30 days. SPREAD THE WORD - OOH RAH!!!
If you cannot donate, that's fine! Maybe just share our campaign to your social media accounts, or to friends and family that might be interested.
Another great way to help is to click the little red heart at the top of this campaign. That helps this fundraiser gain popularity within GoFundMe and helps more eyeballs see it.
Please help our organization purchase this home. We served our country as Marines, and now as Veterans we have no plans to stop serving. I am pleading with you to share this fundraiser with your friends and family, especially those with ties to the military.
A reminder that you can now donate directly at the Chesty Puller House website - without the additional fees incurred by GoFundMe. That site will be the place to connect to our program to get the latest and greatest updates.
Thanks again for following us on Facebook! Join our mailing list on the website as well for more personalized information focused on the veterans we are helping, status on the house, and questions that we receive from the public.
We hope you are having a wonderful March!
Please note that this is NOT a 1-800 number (that will be set up in the next few weeks) - but there have been many requests for a phone contact for our team. During our ramp-up time, we will respond to requests as quickly as we can. You can call to ask questions, look for help, and get status of the house. Urgent requests will be responded to quickly.
We have moved the closing date of the house to March 15 - fundraising has continued to be amazing, but we need to finance part of the Chesty Puller House and we are working with the bank to do so.
Donations and financial support are still very much needed.
Because we are a NEW organization, there is no credit history or proof we pay the electric bill :) Therefore, the bank is requiring us as individuals to sign as personal guarantors of the house. We believe in this project SO MUCH, that several of us who can are stepping up to sign our names - we are hoping that it is enough to get the job done. We are personally putting everything on the line for this.
If you are interested in helping in this regard, please contact us - owning/backing a piece of the house might be something you can assist with. In the meantime, we continue to raise funds to bring as much to the table as we can!
Also - if you are thinking about donating - please do so at this link:
This sends your donation straight to the Chesty Puller House bank account and skips the fees associated with the page you are on right now. Every dollar helps us accomplish our mission!
More to come, soon! And if you haven't followed our Facebook page, do so today!
I am excited to deliver the following updates to our loyal supporters! Your messages and help mean so much to all of us working behind the scenes to make the Chesty Puller House come to life. Our website is now live, and over the next few days I will begin to share more and more details of the journey thus far - including some stories of veterans we have helped along the way in the last several weeks! As board member Jessica stated us during our last meeting, "Chesty Puller House is much more than a house...we are helping vets in need and have been since this started." She is right. That said:
-Our contracts have been accepted and currently we are set to close (!!!) on the physical house on February 15th!
-Our website: www.chestypullerhouse.com is up and running. (NOTE: The same URL but .org will be our main website, however, either link will result in the same website displayed at this time.
- The website, which is being updated all weekend and will be consistently into the future, will allow you to learn about our mission, about our plans and accomplishments, as well as learn more about the people working hard to make it all come together. Perhaps most importantly - you can learn more about the veteran suicide epidemic and what we are doing to help vets in need.
- You can also donate or find other ways to help at our website! This is preferable to using this GoFundMe site, because we have integrated with PayPal and there are no additional percentages taken other than the standard non-profit fees if you use a card to donate.
- If you haven't yet, follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chestypullerhouse/
- Donors will soon be getting information and updates about their campaign contribution rewards, so stay tuned for that!
- Join our mailing list (Please!) right on the website, bottom right. This will allow you to receive updates and news, whether or not you donated.
I hope this update finds you well - stay tuned for more news soon. So many veterans are counting on us - and YOU.
Today an amazing fundraiser kicked off for Veterans Day. Dave Biggers and his company, al a mode software (alamode.com - real estate software) is generously matching donations made through this link:
If you have been thinking about donating to this cause, now is the time to do so! Al a mode will be running the campaign for a few weeks, honoring veterans and helping kick off the Chesty Puller House in celebration of not just Veterans Day, but to remember and honor our nation's vets all holiday season.
Dave listened to our team tell him about our mission, about our friends who have taken their lives, and he summed up things pretty nicely in an e-mail to his clients:
After a veteran friend took his life, [the Chesty Puller House founders] simply decided to get up and act. They decided it wasn't someone else's job. As one put it so well on our initial phone call, "It started with five Marines trying to save one's life and quickly grew into 3000 on Facebook offering to drive anywhere, any time, to save the next one."
Now that group has become "official", as an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit company, appropriately named "The Chesty Puller House". If you're not militarily inclined, you might wonder what the name means. It's significant, and it's tied directly into the reason for raising $500,000.
Marine Corps Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller was a legend to all Marines and all veterans in the years before and after WWII. With an incredible five Navy Crosses, along with a Distinguished Service Cross awarded by the Army, Chesty became the only veteran ever to receive so many of our nation's second-highest recognitions of valor, below only the Medal of Honor. And yet bravery couldn't save Chesty's family from suffering exactly what we're fighting here. His son, Lewis, severely wounded in Vietnam, committed suicide in 1994. He became one of the "twenty-two" that we're fighting for today.
But now, in a twist relevant to all real estate appraisers, Chesty Puller's former house in Saluda, VA, could play a crucial role in helping other veterans suffering like Lewis. Chesty and his wife, Virginia, were known for opening the home to Marines of all ranks — seating privates and generals at the same table. Now it's for sale, and the Chesty Puller House charity intends to buy it, renovate it, and use it as an events center, headquarters, national lifeline, and "spiritual beacon" for at-risk veterans of all branches, continuing in Chesty and Virginia's tradition. Proceeds generated through its events operations will continue funding the Chesty Puller House mission: To never leave a brother or sister behind.
Back when the group started, the last line posted by a veteran friend in a suicide note on Facebook, imploring them to save others, was "the door is unlocked". So it's fitting that we should help Chesty Puller House physically unlock the door to veterans in need.
But first, they have to buy it. Anyone else could snap it up. We have to hurry for that reason, as well as for the 22. Every hour counts, so donate now, while you're thinking about it.
That twenty-two can be reduced to zero by the work of one: You. You can tell all your friends about the donations page at www.alamode.com/veterans. You can forward this email to every friend, appraiser, Realtor, broker, underwriter, regulator, inspector, and veteran that you know. You can push me past the $250,000 dollar-for-dollar match limit by showing me that you won't stop at $500,000. I'm counting on you. And the twenty-two are counting on you too.
We CAN make this happen. We WILL make this happen. At this time of year, when petty politics and holiday consumerism all too often overshadow the somber remembrance of Veterans Day, we MUST make this happen.
Thank you, everyone. Please join us in fighting to help slow, and one day stop, the veteran suicide epidemic.
More press: http://www.inman.com/2015/11/11/marines-band-together-to-purchase-former-home-of-decorated-veteran/#.VkOAfNUPm_I.twitter