After losing their dear friend, Allen Marr, John and Dawn Meyer decided to honor his memory by turning his bed and breakfast into a getaway for families with special needs children.
“The community around here really enjoyed him and respected him,” Dawn said. “He loved it here so much that we wanted his legacy to carry on. We decided the best thing to do so everybody else could come up and enjoy this would be to create a place where special needs kids and kids with cancer can come with their families and enjoy the property.”
Located in Lobelia, The Marr Foundation has 500 acres, a six bedroom house, five miles of trail, ponds, waterfalls and beautiful views.
The foundation focuses on offering a retreat for families to reduce their stress and give them a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
“In every place I’ve lived, families forget what it’s like to be a family and have fun because they have so many responsibilities to take care of the child, that they forget to enjoy their childhood,” Dawn said. “You have to be able to remember to have fun, too.”
Along with offering a getaway where families can camp, fish and enjoy nature, Dawn is looking to the community for possible suggestions, and help.
“You know the community of Lobelia – it’s a very eclectic group,” she said. “There are musicians, woodworkers, artists, there’s all kinds of people here and they’ve all shown interest in volunteering when needed. It’s possibly we’ll have music sing alongs at the pond with a bonfire. There’s all kinds of fun things we could do. I hate to see the property just sit here and have nobody come see it.”
Dawn also sees the potential for parents to meet new friends who are going through the same struggles with their children.
The 501c3 non-profit entity is set to officially open for retreats in May.
“We’d love it to be a year-round thing, but it’s hard getting down here in the winter,” Dawn said. “Right now, we’re hoping to start in May.”
The foundation is planning various fundraisers and recently held a bowling tournament benefit in Covington, Virginia.
For more information on The Marr Foundation, visit www.marrfoundation.org or The Marr Foundation Facebook page.