Veterans are considered the nation’s highly respected members of society to Lilac Springs. These men and women sacrifice themselves for a very long period of extended absence from comfort, security and families. Their hard work and dedication is even exemplified to the highest with observance of a day for them, Veterans Day. But when they arrive home, they often feel like a stranger in a foreign land and go through an excessive amount of trauma. This is where the Veterans Project at Lilac Springs comes in and saves the day.
Lilac Springs is 68 acres of fertile grass, ponds, trails, a labyrinth and pure relaxation. Located about four miles south of Meadville, PA, Lilac Springs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides three day breakaways for combat veterans and their partners.
Designed to be a resort, Lilac Springs is owned by Marsha and Anthony Pedone. “RECOURSE” is the motto for the organization because the property has served as a recourse to combat veterans and their loved ones. Since 2008, it has been a place where veterans can feel at peace because they can escape from reality.
“A place of safety, support and understanding. While here, individuals are able to re-integrate spiritually, physically, psychologically, socially, emotionally,” Marsha Pedone said.
Ralph Gomora is a long time resident of Meadville and owns a construction company named Ralph Gomora Concrete and Construction LLC with his sons. Gomora and the company are one of the key organizations that helped build Lilac Springs and are currently constructing a pavilion area outside. It will serve as a place veterans can use to relax, conduct meetings or hang out.
“Time is the most important and valuable thing to man. That makes it the most valuable thing worth sharing. No other cause is more perfect to dedicate time to then helping people who dedicated their time for the country,” Gomora said.
Marsha and Anthony Pedone have been positively changing veterans’ lives for nearly a decade. Marsha and Anthony said that their belief in God will bless and sustain their lives for choosing to help others.
“These people sold their lives for this country. Don’t they at least deserve a weekend to enjoy themselves?” Anthony Pedone said, “Even if that means riding a tractor outside, gazing flowers or simply walking into nature. We owe them peace at the least.”
Since the Veterans Project at Lilac Springs is a nonprofit, there are no paid staff. Therefore, the organization is open to all that would like to donate their time. Students and people from all backgrounds are welcomed to come to the farm and help with its maintenance.
“We’d appreciate all the help we can get before the bad weather arrives and limits our work,” Anthony said.
Lilac Springs is open for all students and volunteers looking for community service. Lilac Springs and its owners encourage people to take the chance to influence someone’s world that has been shaken up. For any additional information and questions, feel free to send the organization a email at [email protected] or call at 814-282-9380.