Newsletter • Summer 2020

Reflections From the Founders 

Hello HFR family,
If there is one thing 2020 is teaching us, it's that health and wellness must remain top priority in our lives. We pray this finds you and your loved ones happy and well! Although there is uncertainty in the world, our team has never been more passionate about serving Survivors, and our mission at Holbrook Farms Retreat is steady and unchanging: to provide wellness and a sense of community for our Military Survivors and their families. We know this is needed more than ever before in the midst of a global pandemic and social distancing. Season 7 did look different; we were extremely disappointed to have to postpone four retreats to 2021. However, it was exciting to offer our first virtual Survivors of Heroes retreat in June. In July, we hosted our annual Board of Directors strategic planning meeting on-site and celebrated 10 years of the property's healing energy in our lives. Through all this year's adjustments, it motivated the HFR team to discover new ideas and big plans for the future! We can't wait to welcome all 2020 guests to Holbrook next year. We're finding new ways to offer resources and connection throughout the entire year. Also, we are dedicated to finding those with a heart to serve as we seek to fill key leadership positions in social media, volunteer outreach, and retreat assistants.  Plus, we'd love to team up with local volunteer groups to help with some seasonal property projects and add new retreat itinerary volunteers. If you are interested in helping in some way, please email and a member of our team will contact you for your interests assessment. Together, we look forward to serving many more military families and sharing the gift of wellness to all. 
Sending extra love, hugs, and positive energy your way, 
Matt & Micaela


2020 Retreat Season

As is the case for most of us, 2020 turned out very differently from what we had planned at Holbrook Farms Retreat!  We were prepared and excited to host a total of four retreats from June-September 2020, but due to COVID-19 we made the very difficult decision to cancel all of our in-person retreats.  The women who were scheduled to attend this year will be given priority to return to our 2021 retreats.  In June, during the dates of our first Survivors of Heroes Retreat, we offered our first-ever Virtual Retreat.  The Virtual Retreat was opened up to all the women who were scheduled for retreats this year as well as those on our wait list.  Virtual Retreat activities included yoga and painting classes, game night, and a Healing Through Writing workshop.  We also provided children’s activities via a separate Zoom call to free up moms for the scheduled activities.  Although we greatly missed hosting our Survivors at Holbrook Farms, we are thankful we could provide the chance to gather virtually to try new things together, fellowship, and support each other through this difficult season.  We look forward to utilizing online platforms more in the future to connect Military Survivors with one another, in addition to hopefully returning to in-person retreats in the summer of 2021!
“I’m so grateful I got a chance to participate in Holbrook Farms first Virtual Retreat!  It was so nice to be able to connect with other women who are walking a similar path in grief and loss as me while participating in activities that will help in our healing!  I’m excited to be able to continue to connect with them throughout the year, but most of all, to meet them in person next year in Minnesota! Can’t wait!” ~Leigh Giglio

Survivor Story

My name is Nashina Anderson. My husband was SGT Eshon D. Anderson.  His "angel date" is January 2, 2015.  I was able to attend Holbrook Farms in June 2019.  It was the one of the best experiences I have had. They made me feel at home, they were so friendly, it felt like we knew each other. There were some amazing women on the retreat with me, easy to get along with, and we bonded quickly and easily.

We shared the best week together, bonding through our activities, talking and laughing together.  It was my first time attending Holbrook and hopefully when others decide to attend they have the best experience, just as I and the other ladies had. I hope they can meet some new life long friends along the way.  I’m glad I attended because it gave me a profound new experience, and I learned a lot of new things along the way.


Committee Member Highlight

Jayne Dunnum - Hospitality Coordinator 

Jayne was born into a Marine Corps family and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she met her late husband, Ken, at Bemidji State University.   They spent 30 years married and going where the United States Marine Corps sent them.  Along the way they had two boys, Matthew and Andrew.  As a military spouse, Jayne got to master the skills she brings to Holbrook Farms Retreat as our Hospitality Coordinator.  As a Military Survivor herself, Jayne felt a deep connection to Holbrook Farms Retreat and its mission.  After volunteering at a Survivors of Heroes Retreat in 2018, she was hooked and has continued to serve other widows like herself.  Jayne is inspired to be an example to other Survivors that you can live and love again after loss.  She lives in Northern Virginia where she is close to her boys and their growing families and where Ken is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Semper Fi. 
As our Hospitality Coordinator, Jayne ensures our guests are provided nutritious and delicious meals during retreats. She goes above and beyond to fulfil her duties and is always a bright and shining presence at Holbrook Farms. Our retreats would not be possible without Jayne’s dedication and support. Thanks, Jayne, for everything you do. 


Special 'Thanks' to Spanky's Stone Hearth: 

Spanky’s Stone Hearth is located in Frazee, Minnesota, not far from Holbrook Farms Retreat.  It is truly a Minnesota lakes country fine dining restaurant located on Rose Lake.  Josh and his staff have been incredibly welcoming and accommodating of our Survivors of Heroes Retreats each summer as we bring the Survivors for a fine dining meal.  For women who are not often treated to a nice dinner out, this is a highlight of every retreat.  We appreciate the hospitality and graciousness of Josh and the Spanky’s staff so much, and our retreats wouldn’t be the same without this wonderful dinner experience!
Click to check them out! 


What's Cookin' at the Farm

We’d love to give you a glimpse into the experience our Survivors get at The Farm. Here is a fan favorite recipe you can make at home to enjoy while dreaming of days on the lake! Our Hospitality Coordinator, Jayne, shares this delicious recipe every season and says “This recipe is a hit wherever I take it. I usually double it.” 

Jayne’s Black Bean Salsa
  •  1  15 oz can black beans
  • Dice and add the following:
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers
Mix well and add the following:
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn  (can use canned corn, drain well.  I use a whole can)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Refrigerate 1-2 hours, or until flavors have blended.  Serve with chips.

How You Can Help?

We appreciate your support now, more than ever. There are many ways you can support the mission at Holbrook Farms Retreat:
  • We are actively seeking dedicated volunteers to join our team. If you have experience in any of the following areas and are interested in helping, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at to learn more:
    • Public Relations
    • Fundraising
    • Volunteer Development
  • Wear your support and buy some Holbrook Farms Retreat gear. Share your photos of you in your new gear and you may see yourself featured on our social media!
  • Purchase items from our Amazon Charity List. All the items on our list support Survivor retreats.
  • Donate on our website. 100% of every dollar donated goes to Survivor retreats. 
  • Talk to your employer about corporate matching. 
  • Rent the Holbrook Farms Retreat Property! Are you looking for a fun and private getaway for you and your family? Our property is available as a vacation rental, when not in use for Survivor retreats. 
  • Follow us on social media and share about HFR’s mission Facebook and Instagram.
  • Word of mouth is the best advertisement to help share our mission. Please share this newsletter with your friends to update them on the activity at Holbrook Farms Retreat.
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Interested in becoming a larger part of HFR?  Have questions? Do you know a Survivor interested in attending?  Please reach out - we’d love to hear from you.

Holbrook Farms Retreat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so all donations are tax-deductible.  All individual donations go 100% towards supporting a Survivor at a retreat.  All income from VRBO goes towards property maintenance and improvements to enhance the retreat experience for our guests who attend Survivors of Heroes Retreats.  Please contact us if you’d like more info on our financials!
Copyright © 2020 Holbrook Farms Retreat, All rights reserved.

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