Community makes new home a reality for a local military hero

“Welcome home.”

These were the words that moved U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Goodrich to tears as he burrowed a shovel into the plot of land where his new home will soon stand. After putting his life on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan, the returning hero and his family will soon receive a small token of appreciation—a home to call their own.

A large crowd gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for Goodrich’s new house on Monday afternoon at Embrey Mill in Stafford County. Just days before, on Veterans Day, Goodrich received the surprise of his life when the plans for his custom, mortgage-free home were revealed during a Washington Wizards game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

“I had no idea. I was completely surprised,” Goodrich said.

Originally from Baton Rouge, La., Goodrich joined the Army after high school in June 2004. He fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

While deployed in Afghanistan in 2012, his base in Kunar was hit by rockets. His leg and jaw shattered, and he suffered a brain injury.

“I’ve received a lot of different kinds of support, but not everyone is plugged in,” Goodrich said. “There are people willing to help, but sometimes you have to find your own way.”

Newland Communities, the developer of Embrey Mill, partnered with general contractor Miller & Smith and Operation Finally Home to provide a home for the Goodrich.

Gary Scola, vice president of operations for Newland Communities, said Newland donated the land for the project, but it took a community to make the home happen.

“The response we have gotten from everyone involved in this has been: ‘What else can we do?’ ” Scola said.

Larry Adams-Thompson of Operation Finally Home said the organization is a nonprofit established to bring together builders, suppliers and communities to provide homes for America’s military heroes. Over the past 11 years, more than 200 homes either have been completed or are in progress in more than 30 states across the U.S.

“These are folks who have served their country—all four of them,” Thompson said, as he looked toward Goodrich’s wife, Jacqueline, and their two children, Lucy, 8, and Judah, 4.

Stafford County also played an integral role in making the new home a reality. On Aug. 16, the Board of Supervisors authorized a donation of $14,044 to Operation Finally Home to cover the cost of water and sewer connection fees.

Dale Hall, vice president of Miller & Smith, said he is grateful to Stafford.

“I am so impressed with Stafford,” Hall said. “They didn’t just waive all the fees to build this house. They stepped up and paid for those fees. They found the way. That was a great starting point.”

Stafford County Commissioner of Revenue Scott Mayausky said the home should be a symbol for Stafford because it represents the coming together of the community.

“The tumult in national politics—the division we are all feeling—prevents us from focusing on what is really important,” Mayausky said. “And this is what is really important: to honor the men and women who have sacrificed to defend not just their freedom and their family’s freedom but to defend the freedom of people half a world away who they have never met and will probably never meet.”

“I know I am five months premature, but I want to be one of the first ones from Stafford County to welcome you home, brother,” Mayausky added.

Additional building partners for the Goodrich home include Atlantic Builders, Drees Homes, Integrity Homes, K Hovnanian Homes, Lennar and Stanley Martin Homes.

“While Miller & Smith are taking the lead, without each and every one of the builders here today, this would not have happened,” Hall said.

Hall said it is an honor to build a house for such a wonderful and deserving family. He explained that making the home a reality involved finding the perfect charity, followed by the perfect lot, and, finally, finding the perfect family.

Unlike many charities, all of the money donated to OFH for a project goes to building the house and to the family. Newland solved the next piece of the puzzle—the perfect lot—by providing a the land.

“Such a big part of Embrey Mill is community,” Hall said. “It has a large component of military families and government employees. This is the perfect community for a family.”

Goodrich and his family are expected to receive the keys to their new home in March. While thrilled about the new house, to Goodrich, the real gift is the community members who selflessly came together to build a home where he and his family can make new memories.

“I am overwhelmed and excited—who gives away a house?” Goodrich said. “But it is not about the house; it is the actions of the people. It takes good people with great hearts to do things like this. Each person here today will hold a place in our lives forever.”

Embrey Mill recreational complex opens

The group of parents alongside one of the half-dozen soccer fields at the newly opened Embrey Mill recreational complex in Stafford County jumped and shouted after their Northern Virginia U-9 boys team scored to tie the match on Saturday afternoon.
They not only enjoyed the score but also the shiny new digs in the large new park off Courthouse Road.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Carol Dembicki, whose son, Roman, had scored the team’s goal a moment earlier.

Another parent agreed. “Great setup,” said Rob Suller.

Hundreds of soccer players enjoyed the new fields in the first action on the opening weekend of the new Embrey Mill complex.
The players were taking part in the county’s 23rd annual St. Patrick’s Day tournament, in which 170 teams are competing. The competitors’ ages range from 9 to 19.

The soccer players used 24 fields around the county, but the prime spot was Embrey Mill.

The $26 million complex has six fields. Four of them have artificial turf and two have grass. There are plans to build two more fields on the site, where there also is a aquatics/recreational center under construction.

It was possible not long ago that not all the fields would be ready for the tournament.

But last month Stafford Associates L.P., the developer of the nearby Colonial Forge subdivision, cut a deal with the county to help speed up the park’s completion. The deal also relieved the developer of some previously agreed-to proffer requirements.
Renee Frey, the county’s director of soccer and travel tournaments, was happy with the complex.

“Couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out,” she said.
Loudoun County resident Chad Dietz also was impressed with the complex, saying it’s bigger than the ones he’s used to.
“The fields are great, beautiful facility,” he said. “The way it’s laid out, I think they did a really good job.”

Buying New | Embrey Mill in Stafford

Having a full-service cafe and bar within your neighborhood is a huge bonus after a long commute. While some neighborhoods might have places close by, the homeowners in Embrey Mill are greeted at the community’s entrance with a host of services and amenities created just for them.

That’s one of the features that drew many of the new residents to the 831-acre mixed-use, master-planned development set in the hills of historic Stafford.

“We love meeting with some of our new friends at the Embrey House at the end of a long day for a glass of wine,” resident Kathlene Horsley said. She added that the cafe’s owner has created an environment that is warm and inviting and “they have amazing food.”

Horsley said she and her husband were impressed with the wide variety of builders and development plans for green spaces, sports fields, trails and community centers. She also said that with the Interstate 95 HOV currently under construction, it will make this area “extremely accessible to D.C. and help cut down on the headache of driving into the city, if needed. And if we desire a more small-town feel, we have the option of going south to Fredericksburg 10 miles down the road.”

Embrey Mill was built with the busy commuter in mind, according to Dorothy Morrison, marketing director with developer Newland Communities.

An estimated 1,827 new homes consisting of single-family residences and townhomes are expected to be built.

Concierge services: The Embrey House is the residents’ prime gathering spot, offering an on-site restaurant, bar and concierge services. There’s even a call-ahead service for quick pickup for residents who prefer to take their food home.

The Embrey House feels like a cozy country club, where residents are warmly greeted with familiar faces and enticing spots to unwind. There’s a snug reading area; a restaurant and bar known as the Before ‘n’ After Cafe, a local favorite that expanded into the subdivision; and an exercise room. When the weather warms, residents can take advantage of a large resort-style pool with a kids’ play area as well as an outdoor summer kitchen and patio that will offer poolside food service.

Among the multiple outdoor sitting areas is an “edible garden.” Morrison says this will be a place where residents can come sit and eat food directly from the garden.

Embrey House’s exterior was inspired by the Towson House, a historic home adjacent to the quarries that supplied the sandstone used to build the U.S. Capitol. The Embrey family later became the owners of the Towson House.

Home styles vary: Builders in Embrey Mill include Atlantic Builders, Brookfield Residential, Integrity Homes, K. Hovnanian Homes, Miller & Smith and Richmond American Homes. Architecture styles include prairie, craftsman, Victorian/farmhouse, classical revival and Colonial revival.

Interior features include a study nook off the great room and a kitchen with granite counters, maple cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances. The owners’ suite bathroom includes double sinks, an oval soaking tub, a seated shower and a huge walk-in closet that can double as a dressing room.

The subdivision offers townhomes that start in the high $200,000s and range from 1,600 to 2,550 square feet. The single-family homes start in the high $300,000s and range from 1,900 to 4,200 square feet. There’s a mix of rear-load and front-load garages throughout the community.

Miller & Smith offers two floor plans. The Sentinel starts at $289,990, ranges from 2,116 to 2,236 square feet and comes with three bedrooms and a recreation room. The Cavalier is 2,332 to 2,464 square feet, starts at $312,000 and comes with the option of a fourth bedroom and 3.5 bathrooms.

Each of these townhomes has a private fenced-in back yard, a penthouse master suite and a kitchen with a granite island, stainless steel appliances and main-level hardwood floors throughout.

Integrity Homes offer three floor plans ranging from $439,990 to $449,990. One of those homes is the Woodley Park, with more than 3,169 square feet of space. It includes four or five bedrooms and 2.5 to 4.5 bathrooms and comes with a rear two-car detached garage and a finished lower-level recreation room.

Schools: Winding Creek Elementary School, H.H. Poole Middle School, Colonial Forge High School (also two proposed on-site Stafford District schools).

(By Carisa Crawford-Chappell, a freelance writer)

Embrey Mill
25 Apricot St., Stafford, Va.
Townhouses range from the high $200,000s to about $350,000; single-family houses range from the high $300,000s to the high $500,000s.

Builders: Atlantic Builders, Brookfield Residential, Integrity Homes, K. Hovnanian Homes, Miller & Smith and Richmond American Homes.

Sales office: 540-492-4880 or www.embreymill.com.