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Veterans retreat to open near Taylors Island

Times Record (Denton, MD) - 4/23/2016

CAMBRIDGE - On Thursday, April 14, the DC Bowl Committee announced the purchase of a 290-acre property near Taylors Island to be used as a retreat for veterans and their families. The retreat will be named Patriot Point.

"We are grateful to our founding partners in this endeavor, Stuart Plank and the Taishoff Family Foundation," said DC Bowl Committee President and Executive Director Steve Beck. "We learned about this property from Stuart, who had visited when its former owner, James Bugg, the chairman of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, used it to host wounded service members. Patriot Point will further develop and formalize Mr. Bugg's concept."

Bugg was a well-known and active member of the community in Dorchester County. He was a founder of the Grand National Waterfowl Association.

"Jim Bugg was such a contributor to the county," said Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers. "I'm really pleased that somebody is going to continue the efforts that he and his family were making through the Wounded Warriors Project, because they need to have that. For all they've been through, I'm glad it helps them."

The retreat will feature many activities including hunting, fishing, crabbing, water sports, and art therapy. The property features 2.3 miles of waterfront along Parsons Creek, Slaughter Creek and the Little Choptank River.

"This will be a place for veterans to come relax, recharge, whatever they need," said Beck. "We look forward to welcoming these brave men and women to the Eastern Shore and allowing them to enjoy themselves and relax."

There are two houses on the property to accommodate guests, one with four bedrooms and one with six. Updates will be made to improve the lodging overall, but specifically to increase accessibility for people with disabilities.

The committee is working on a detailed five-year plan that will include a new barn, an improved driveway and more upgrades.

In addition, the project will include restoration and conservation efforts along the waterfront.

"Mr. Bugg entertained veterans for therapy and relaxation. We decided we could come here and build something special on the Eastern Shore. There's nothing like it around," said Stuart Plank, founding partner of Patriot Point.

To help with updating the property and improving accessibility, the Maryland General Assembly granted $500,000 in state capital funding for the project.

State Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, said, "The effort is supported by the veterans caucus and to me is quite a tribute to the original property owner. This is a wonderful opportunity and take advantage of our unique landscape, geography, culture and hospitality."

The USO will be involved in the project as well.

"Patriot Point definitely fills a need in our local military community," said Elaine Rogers, president and CEO of USO-Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore. "We look forward to working together to deliver critically needed programs and services that will provide great benefit to our service members and their families."

Patriot Point will be a year-round retreat facility. The tentative opening date is Sept. 1.

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