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Willing Warriors leadership and University of Phoenix alumni at the ground-breaking ceremony December 2, 2022, left to right: Sarah Ford, executive director, Willing Warriors; John Dominick, co-founder, Willing Warriors; Shirley Dominick, president and co-founder, Willing Warriors (alum); Barbara Smith, vice president, University of Phoenix District - Maryland - Virginia Alumni Chapter (alum); Kent Blumberg, faculty and national account manager, University of Phoenix (alum); and Ken Lukonis, Board member, Willing Warriors (alum).

University of Phoenix supports Willing Warriors’ new Grand Lodge delivering life-changing retreats for military service members

By Sharla Hooper

University alumni and leaders participate in the lodge ground-breaking ceremony

University of Phoenix is proud to support nonprofit Willing Warriors at the ground-breaking ceremony for a future Grand Lodge on Friday, December 2, 2022, in Haymarket, Virginia. Willing Warriors is a charitable organization currently operating the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run and providing cost-free retreat stays and programs that positively impact wounded, ill, and injured service members, disabled veterans, and their families. The new six-bedroom Grand Lodge includes a 2,000-square-foot multi-purpose activity space to host expanded Warrior group programs for post-traumatic stress counseling, job training, entrepreneurial training, and technology training. In 2022, the University of Phoenix provided the Warrior Retreat with a $10,000 donation, which will directly fund two warrior family stays at the Retreat. Kent Blumberg, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, faculty and national account manager, attended the ground-breaking ceremony.

“We are honored to support Willing Warriors and contribute to their important work to provide safe, healing space for service members,” states Chris Lynne, interim president and chief financial officer of University of Phoenix. “These individuals and their families have made enormous sacrifices and the programs provided by Willing Warriors support their path forward.”

Willing Warriors opened the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run on July 4, 2015, as a volunteer and community-supported nonprofit organization providing non-medical programs that positively affect the well-being and lives of military service members who are wounded, ill, or injured from service-related harms. The Warrior Retreat offers a five-night respite stay during which warriors and their families can temporarily escape hospital settings and day-to-day demands to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with each other.

Willing Warriors co-founder and Board of Directors President Shirley Dominick, retired from the Air Force, is a University of Phoenix doctoral alumni and member of the University of Phoenix District – Maryland – Virginia (DMV) Alumni Chapter, whose members are active with the non-profit and its mission. "We are excited to work with the DMV Alumni Chapter leadership for upcoming service day projects and look forward to growing our relationship with University of Phoenix for the benefit of our Warriors," Dominick shares. DMV Alumni Chapter Vice President Barbara Smith and Ken Lukonis, a member of the Willing Warriors Board of Directors and a University of Phoenix alum, both attended the ceremony.

To date, the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run has provided over 2,000 Warriors and family members with life-changing respite stays and has hosted over 500 Warriors dealing with severe post-traumatic stress for week-long intensive counseling stays. University of Phoenix supports Willing Warriors and other nonprofit efforts through its corporate social responsibility program.

University of Phoenix serves the educational goals of veterans and military students, with specially trained staff to assist service members, veterans, and military spouses and dependents. In addition to providing career-relevant education and flexibility that fits military student and working adult schedules, the military experience and training of student veterans and military students can be assessed for potential college credit.

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