Nonprofit veteran retreat continues mission after string of burglaries
HERMANN – Thieves stole a travel trailer Sunday night from the property of "A Thousand Ripples", a nonprofit wilderness retreat under construction.
It was the property's fourth burglary in just 60 days, dating back to the first instance Feb. 11. An estimated $40,000 worth of property has been stolen, according to the nonprofit owner.
Even with the setback, operations manager and the former Marine John Grady plans to continue construction and the mission of the foundation. He's offering a place of solace for veterans and cancer patients.
Construction on cabins began this spring with the hope of opening to host retreats in 2020, but that timeline is now pushed back.
Grady and his wife Karen started the foundation together and initially supported it with savings from their 401(k) retirement savings account.
“I might have paid for everything,” Grady said. “But they didn’t steal from me. They stole from veterans and cancer patients that would visit here.”
After the first burglary, Grady installed a game camera with the hope of catching the thieves. In the second instance, the thief took the camera itself.
When the trailer was stolen Sunday, its canopy hit trees along the property driveway and broke off of the trailer. The thieves returned to take it, and destroyed a shed as well.
After the burglaries, Grady fears his insurance will no longer cover property stolen in the future. Grady met with police on Monday, who stationed a state trooper near the 10-acre property that evening. They also suggested putting up private fencing.
Grady has been checking out roads around his property this week, hoping to find the trailer himself. He hasn’t had any luck as of Thursday evening. That hasn't discouraged him from continuing its mission, however.
“They can kick me put they knock me down,” Grady said. “We’re going to persevere, and we’re going to help people.”