Story by Erin Bozdan
Photos by Joanne Maisano
The third annual Hootenanny golf tournament benefits Hero Homes.
The Fourth of July week never fails to bring fun, family, fireworks and now gratitude. For the past three years, the Hero Homes Hootenanny, held at the historic Stoneleigh Golf and Country Club, has been a hugely successful event, raising money for Hero Homes Foundation.
Based in Purcellville, Virginia, The Hero Homes Foundation was founded in the fall of 2015 by Jason Brownell, developer and builder; Matthew Lowers, president of wholesale screening; along with Aimee McGranahan. Their mission is to build houses for wounded war veterans and their families who have bravely fought for the preservation of our country’s freedom.
For Brownell, this is a calling. “I am able to do God’s work for those who have not been as fortunate as I have been, and for those who have been injured fighting for our democracy and freedom, and for those loved ones who died before their time,” he says. “Hero Homes gives me a chance to honor all these people.”
Hero Homes provides a certain sense of home and community to these deserving veterans, after a very uncertain time at war. The benefits that Hero Homes brings are unprecedented. They offer complete home sustainability, relief on property tax in Loudoun County, unique and ADA-compliant house plans where needed, and most of all, a chance to settle down in a wonderful community.
“Hero Homes gives brave soldiers who have been wounded in combat the freedom of home ownership, and it is well deserved!” says Lowers.
For these veterans, time really does stand still when they are deployed. Coming back to a beautiful, comfortable home of their own, where they can regain that lost time with their families and rebuild a new life outside of the military, is such an important part of this new chapter in their lives.
Staff Sergeant Jarrad Davenport, retired F-16 Army vet, moved into their fabulous new home in the fall of 2017. When Davenport first learned that he would be a recipient of a Hero Home, he “didn’t believe it at first. It was combination of disbelief and excitement all in one.”
Originally from Indiana, Jarrad, along with his wife and sons, just moved to Loudoun County in 2017. Being handed the keys to a brand new stunning home provided him and his family “a fresh new start after being in the military. Everything is brand new, and your outlook on life is much brighter,” states Davenport.
Every year near the first week in July, the Kendall family throws a big summer bash at their stunning home in Stoneleigh. The party draws quite the crowd and is something that people look forward to. Kim Kendall’s son, Zach, gets credit for turning the party into an event supporting Hero Homes, thinking, “Let’s turn this party into something that generates interest and awareness for Hero Homes. Wouldn’t it be great to bring people together around the idea of helping those who have suffered, by embracing them in our community?”
Kim Kendall, owner of Kim Kendall Interiors, and her family play an important role in the both the Foundation and the Hootenanny’s success. She and her company donate design services to help create beautiful, comfortable and functioning spaces throughout each of the veterans’ homes.
When tossing around ideas for the event, Zach threw out the name Hootenanny. It was perfect because Stoneleigh golf course was designed in a Scottish style, and all the roads in the community are named after famous courses in Great Britain. Hootenanny is also a Scottish word for a “shindig,” or a party where people gather to listen to music, dance and have fun.
Admittedly, some of Zach’s family members didn’t love the name at first, thinking it made them sound a bit “hillbilly.” “We kind of are anyway,” Zach says jokingly. But the name stuck, and in 2015 the inaugural event took place, drawing a crowd of around
“Now I can’t even imagine it being called anything else,” says Kim.
Zach, co-founder of the event, along with Kim, Liz McDonald (board member), and a host of other supportive people, put the fundraiser together. Coordinating the golf tournament and organizing the teams to play, as well as registering and collecting auction items are just some of their duties. For the tournament, teams of four will play 18 holes on the beautifully manicured course of Stoneleigh. When the players are finished, awards are given, and they can enjoy a delicious BBQ spread and full bar.
The Hootenanny raises $30,000-$40,000 each year for the cause. The event takes a team of devoted and liked-minded people who volunteer their time and energy to this special event. “All the tasks associated with running a successful organization take time from competent volunteers, and we have been blessed to be able to meet the demand,” says Lowers.
In addition to the golf tournament, there are a variety of activities for all ages, such as live music, live and silent auction, yard games, face painting and a moon bounce house. It’s a fun, patriotic event, held on an historic piece of ground. You really cannot ask for a better platform than that to support such an important cause.
Information about donating to Hero Homes can be found at herohomesloudoun.org. ML
This article first appeared in the August 2018 Issue