Sanctuary for wounded warriors gets slapped with $10,000 tax bill

A Virginia couple who put up $1 million and 37 acres of rural land to help brothers in arms are learning the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.

Ken and Julia Falke, who opened the Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors in September, are on the receiving end of a $10,000 property tax bill from Loudoun County.

bouldercrest0103Ken Falke told Fox News in a story broadcast Thursday that the couple — operating the site as a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization — is providing wounded veterans with services “the county can’t afford to deliver, the state can’t afford to deliver, and I guess arguably the federal government is not delivering.”

Falke is a retired Navy bomb-disposal technician. Boulder Crest, about 60 miles outside Washington, was set up primarily for bomb-disposal technicians wounded while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Falke told Fox News that Loudoun officials had been helpful to the couple since they started the project, giving leeway on building permits and other permits the Falkes needed to get Boulder Crest up and going.

In a 2011 news release announcing that the county had approved a site plan for the project, an agricultural development officer for Loudoun County said, “The site of Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors is perfect for sanctuary and sweet corn. Ken’s vision to keep agricultural land productive, while supporting wounded warriors is a beautiful use of Loudoun County.”

The site has also gotten positive reviews in the press. A November piece in the Washington Post called it “the nation’s first rural retreat devoted to caring for physically and psychologically wounded service members and veterans.”

That kind of record is part of what makes the tax bill so puzzling, Falke said, adding that he’s hoping the county will reconsider because of Boulder Crest’s non-profit designation. Unlike religious organizations, which have a blanket exemption, non-profits get tax relief on a case-by-case basis he said.

Boulder Crest deserves that relief too, he said.

“Any healing, you need a sacred space,” Falke told Fox News. “And this is a sacred space.”

Check out the Fox News report here:


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