LEE, Maine — Last holiday season, nonprofit House in the Woods received an anonymous donation of $1.4 million.
Founded by Paul and Deanna House more than 10 years ago, the organization provides therapeutic and recreational retreats for U.S. military personnel and their families.
The Houses, still in disbelief, said they found out about the money in early December and received it soon after. The funds will be used to pay off the rest of what they owe on the lodge they operate in Lee.
While the donors asked to remain anonymous, the Houses said the donation came from a couple. Deanna said it shows you never know who could be paying attention to the work you're doing to help others.
"The people out there sometimes watch you for years to see if you're the real thing, and you're legitimate," she said. "And they indicated that they were just happy with how we were helping veterans, and they were able to do it. Some people can give a million and a half dollars. Some people can bake an apple pie, and it all helps."
The Houses said their faith in God helped them always believe they would eventually find a way to pay off their debt.
They first started the organization after their son, Sgt. Joel A. House, was killed in Iraq while serving with the U.S. Army. They said the work they do is a way to help the soldiers who are still here and in need of support while also healing themselves in the process.