Posted in Monthly Updates, Our Donors

January Update

There were many new changes I was going to include in the post for the farm this month, but I decided instead to post this amazing story written by the mother of a true gift of a child. This story really needs no intro other than to say that all the participants are neighbors to the farm and have supported us from the beginning. This act by this beautiful ten-year old, and the reactions it generated from the adults around her is amazing and truly heart warming. Maddie has touched our hearts and has inspired us to never give up on our mission. THANK YOU MADISON.  Till next month, enjoy….

Our daughter, Madison, turned 10 on January 22.

Madison came to us and said that several of her friends were asking her what she wanted for her birthday.  She said that she really did not need or want anything because she received everything she wanted for Christmas. We asked her what she had in mind.  She said she would ask her friends to donate the money they would have spent on her birthday gift to the Freedom Farm for Veterans. She knew that the animals would benefit.

So Maddie had her birthday party and raised $250.00 from the generosity of her wonderful friends from Kenosha Montessori School and Scamps Gymnastics. Last Saturday Maddie was so very excited to deliver that check to John at the farm.

Later that Saturday evening, we received a call from a lady named Cassandra. She explained she had heard of Maddie’s donation earlier that day and wanted to reward Madison with a check for $250 for her to spend on herself.  We explained that was very generous however that we could not accept such a lofty gift.  So Cassandra gave her the option to keep some, or donate some to the farm.  Maddie, without hesitation, immediately chose to donate the money to the farm.  On Sunday we met Cassandra in person and she came to the farm with us to present John with the generous donation.

Since that day the blessings continue to multiply.  On Sunday afternoon we went to complete our taxes and Cathy Martin of Martin Tax Service in Kenosha generously told us to have Madison donate what she would have charged us to complete our taxes to the farm. Then that same day while my husband was at work, Captain Maccari of the Kenosha Police Department generously donated money to the farm and a beautiful challenge coin for Madison.  Yesterday Madison’s Godmother also made a donation.

It is truly amazing how one random act of generosity from a ten-year old child has grown into almost $700 in contributions for the Freedom Farm.   Madison loves her trips to the farm and we can only hope that her act of kindness continues to inspire others to help support the farm.


Maddie and Christine 2
Maddie and Christine
Maddie Christine and John
John and Maddie


ZB News 3-19-15 page A8

Posted in Holidays and Remembrances, Our Donors

Happy Thanksgiving

This marks the end of another growing season on the farm, and a mighty productive one at that. With the help of our many volunteers and the kids from Kids Rank, we donated some 1500 lbs of produce to local food pantries, and almost as much was taken home by our veteran and military families. The pumpkins were also taken home by our guests in time for Halloween, and we’re still eating the squash.

We saw many new faces on the farm this year. Many of our guests suffer from PTSD, and found the farm a friendly place to visit. Some of our guests really became attached to our horses, and we recruited a senior from Kids Rank to help with the exercise riding of ‘lil Girl and Beau. Sara has been doing a wonderful job with them, and they look forward to her weekly visits.

We’ve been awarded a grant from the Home Depot Foundation in the amount of $23,200. This grant will be used to repair a family dwelling for two of our heroes. These brothers joined to protect and serve, and both ended up disabled due to their time in service. With the help of The Home Depot Foundation they will have the bathrooms refurbished and the kitchen replaced in their town home, which they share with their mother, sister and younger brother. We will keep you updated as the project gets under way. Hopefully, completion will be before Christmas.

The coffee pot is always on, so if you’re in the area stop by for a cup!

Posted in Our Donors

Remembering one of our supporters

A good friend of the Freedom Farm, Mary Ann Cavener, passed away last month.  The family designated the Freedom Farm as one of the beneficiaries of any remembrances people wished to donate in her memory.

Mary Ann took an interest in the welfare of our soldiers overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. She collected donations that she used to purchase items to send to our troops, as a way to express our gratitude for their service, and she corresponded with many, as well.

She showed that there are many ways to serve, and she will be missed.  May she rest in peace.


Posted in Events, Our Donors

Poker Run Results

On July 15, 2012, the Freedom Farm held the 2nd Annual Poker Run and would like to send out a BIG thank you to all that donated to our event, and to all who came out to participate and support our programs for veterans. Our event made great strides over last year and we wanted to share them with everyone.

We had a 100% increase in riders on the run and a 300% increase in donations of gifts for our silent auction, raffle, and monetary support through $1 disc sales, wristband sales, and cash donations. We want to let everyone know that the support goes directly to the farm to improve and increase our programs.

We want to send a huge thank you to the participating bars that welcomed our participants during the ride: Fatman Pizza Pub, R&R Crossing, Hawg Heaven Bar, C’Mon Inn, Bobby’s Barrel Inn,Wagner’s, Deadmanns Saloon, Mustang Shelly’s Roadhouse, The DMZ Bunker, and Bobby Rockets.

We would also like to send our special thanks to a group of bars and their owners that helped us by selling our fundraising bracelets and discs, even though they were not on the run route, to support our work for the vets: Tavern, Croz, Pell lake Inn, Main Street Inn, Blinders, and Ralph’s Ace of Hearts.

Vendors and organizations help us by donating their services and products to benefit those that we help the most – the veterans and their families – and we appreciate everything that they have given us. We look forward to increasing the program next year and building on our programs as they continue to grow.

Posted in Our Donors

Rose Memorial Update

The weather this year has been very hard on our roses. We made two deliveries to the V.A., dropping off 27 roses to our veterans; then the heat and wind took over.

George (one of our regular volunteers, a Viet Nam veteran) and I hauled some 5000 gallons of water from whoever would donate it to us. We were forced to cut back watering the roses as much as we would have liked – we had to stretch the supply for the livestock and the vegetable garden, too. The stress this placed on the roses has limited flower production, so we hope to be able to resume delivery of flowers to the vets at the V.A. and take the final dedication photos of the plants this fall.

– John

Posted in Events, Monthly Updates, Our Donors

June Update

June on the farm has been tough this summer. The drought has taken its toll and the work is constant to get water to the horses, small animals, and the garden especially. We want to thank the people who have donated water to the farm while the tanks have been dry and appreciate everyone’s help to keep things going.

The garden has produced several loads to the food pantry including lettuce, swiss chard, zucchini, beets, broccoli, and radishes. Although the water hasn’t been plentiful, the produce we have harvested is beautiful. Again, thanks to the Zion High School ROTC and other volunteers for planting the garden in May to get us to this point.

The Rose garden is also coming along. The lack of rain just keeps them from producing as many blooms as usual, but two visits to the James Lovell Medical Center for deliveries made the patients smile. Actually, the I think this is the best part of my job, because the nursing staff and the patients are wonderful to visit. Three more roses that were added in May have begun to bloom, so anyone that wants to donate a rosebush is still most welcome to do so. The veterans love them.

Our big event is coming this weekend…the 2nd Annual Freedom Farm for Vets Poker Run!!! On July 15th, grab your friends, get on your bikes, and enjoy a truly beautiful ride through countryside. Sign up is between 10 AM and 12 Noon at Fatman Pizza Pub for the south run and Lily Lake Resort for the north run. Arrival time at the end is 5 PM at Lily Lake Resort. The two ‘runs’ will give riders a choice of where they want to spend their day and the party at the end promises to be full of good food,fun and prizes.In addition to informing you about the bar destinations along the route, we want to thank the bars for their support and participation this year. The south run includes Fatman Pizza Pub, R&R Crossing, Hawg Heaven Bar, C’mon Inn, Bobby’s Barrel Inn, Lily Lake Resort. The north run includes Lily Lake Resort, Wagner’s, Deadman’s Saloon (formerly Wildlife Refuge), Mustang Shelly’s Roadhouse, the DMZ Bunker, and Bobby Rockets. These establishments have been very nice to us and we appreciate their support. Invite your friends and join us for a fun Sunday in July and ‘see you on the road’!

The following is a list of organizations and individuals who have made donations to support the event thus far, and we want to send out a BIG thank you to all of them. These donations help to make the Poker Run a great success!

  • Budweiser Brewing Company
  • Miller Brewing Company
  • The Chicago White Sox
  • The Chicago Bears                                            
  • Lily Lake Resort
  • Mustang Shelly’s Roadhouse
  • Wagner’s
  • Steve Olson Printing & Design
  • Deadman’s Saloon
  • The DMZ Bunker
  • Whistling Pete’s Embroidery
  • Bobby Rockets
  • Kaiser’s of Kenosha
  • Fatman Pizza Pub
  • Jim & Steve’s Sportscard Shop
  • R&R Crossing
  • County of Kenosha, Division of Golf 
  • Hawg Heaven
  • Beef Ornatek
  • C’mon Inn
  • Matthew Balen
  • Uke’s Harley Davidson
  • Bobbie’s Barrel Inn
  • Octagon Salon and Spa
  • Blinder’s
  • Texas Roadhouse 
  • Silver Lake American Legion
  • Dover Saddlery
  • Main Street, Twin Lakes
  • Lovin’ Oven Cakes
  • Croz
  • Mickey Finn’s Brewery & Food Pub
  • Ralph’s Ace of Hearts
  • Soccer Plus
  • Pell Lake Inn
  • Ken Patel
  • The Tavern
  • Racine Harley Davison
  • Kenosha County Tavern League
  • Danny’s Café, Inc.
  • Zion Cyclery
  • Gemini Salon and Spa
  • Bristol Hair Shoppe
  • River Valley Garden
  • Wadsworth Feed
  • Hoeksema’s Mini-Mart
  • Captain Porky’s
  • Omni Salon and Spa, Zion IL
  • Hair Crafters
  • Coco’s
  • Guttormsen Recreation Center
  • Palmer Martino, Kenosha WI
Posted in Events, In the News, Monthly Updates, Our Donors

May Update

The month of May was a busy one, planting the gardens and signing up new volunteers. Our veterans, staff, and volunteers completed the planting of our gardens and pumpkin/squash patch, and the seeds are poppin!  Each morning George and I take a golf cart ride to inspect the gardens; this is all new to George and he is fascinated by the progress.

The Zion ROTC graduates are some of the volunteers who help out at the farm.  We welcome the interaction with our future military and our veterans; these young men and women get first hand knowledge what the military is really like, and what sacrifices they will make before and after service.  One of the highest honors a person can achieve in life is to be able to say is that he or she is a veteran, and these young men and women experience this before they enter the service by interacting with our veterans, here on the farm.

The article in last month’s Lake County Journal said that I would be leaving to work to fund this program. Well, I’m still here. Funding is still a big issue, but somehow we will prevail. Though my leaving would solve the funding issue, the programs would suffer while I was away. I cannot leave our veterans if that means our service to them will diminish. Our veterans have given us the right to live free and safe, so we MUST and WILL give them whatever they need to lead productive and enjoyable lives. After all, isn’t that what they fought for, too?

The Tavern League of Kenosha County voted to support the farm, and did so with a generous monetary donation. They are also supporting our July 15th poker run by selling our dollar discs. We are having more made and will keep spreading them out.  Thank all of you who have supported the Freedom Farm by donating in this way.

I am now asking everyone reading this to pledge a dollar to our cause. For less than the cost of a newspaper, you can help our veterans and their families enjoy a healthy and prosperous life, like the one they made it possible for the rest of us.

Remember: The highest honor a person can achieve in their lifetime is to be called a veteran.

Thank you all,