A Vermont inn keeper is looking for fundraising help to build a guest loft for military personnel.
Mary Skelton owns The Hobble Inn, located in Stowe.
“My parents were 99 and 102 [years-old] when they died, and they were both in wheelchairs, and my husband, of course, was in a wheelchair at the end of his life, so I’ve taken care of a lot of hobblers,” Skelton said.
After operating the inn for nearly three years, Skelton has decided to embark on a new project to honor her family and friends who have served, and continue to serve in the armed forces.
“I was thinking about my husband, and my father, and my father-in-law, and my son, and just feeling that I hadn’t really done anything patriotic to honor them and all of the other service people that have been serving our country’s interest for decades and centuries, and this just seemed like something I could do,” Skelton said.
The loft would be free up to a week for Veterans, Reservists and Active Servicemen and Women who are looking for a place to get away. The space is above the inn’s garage, and will be turned into a one-bedroom apartment for military personnel and a guest or spouse to enjoy.
Skelton needs at least $120,000 to complete the project, and says she’s relying on the community’s support.
“To make this work and be able to loan it out at no charge for Veterans, I do need the help of the public, my friends, my family, and anyone else that thinks this is a great idea,” Skelton said.
Up until midnight on Memorial Day, Skelton said she would match any gift of $100 or more, up to $5,000 to benefit The Loft project, but says she will likely keep that going if the contributions keep coming in.
Community members touched by the project have helped.
“Mary is a unique individual in the fact that she’s put her home kind of on the line for this. There’s not a lot of people that can afford to do that. This is all out of pocket, and that’s huge,” John Nichols, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran said.
“A lot of Veterans just need a change of pace once in a while, and whether it be a couple of days or a week, I think it’d be really good for them,” Amy Connelley, a Blue Star Mother said.
“Obviously, she knows Veterans, she’s got experience with them, and it should go a long, long, long way, even it it helps just one,” David Eckert, Chapter Commander of Combat Veterans Motorcycles Association, Vermont Chapter 26.
Skelton hopes to have renovations complete by Spring 2017.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to welcome guests,” Skelton said.
To donate to the cause, click here: https://www.crowdrise.com/the-loft-at-hobble-inn/fundraiser/theloftathobbleinn