Everything comes with risk, but when a Warrior lives through war and lands at LZ-Grace, it is to overcome, reconnect to family and community and achieve the peace that comes from within.
When we acknowledge and release what we’ve lived through and find connection with one another, our souls are inspired to hold tight to the edge of the cliff until help arrives; to live on; to use scars as road maps; and to pass strength and experience forward to all the world.
Grace is the voice that calls us to change and the power to pull it off.
LZ-Grace Promotional Video produced, edited and donated by Nanc Waters.
It is with the love and generosity of our kind supporters that LZ-Grace Warriors Retreat can make a difference and begin the healing process.
Lynnette Bukowski All rights reserved ©2014
On November 16, 2014, LZ-Grace Warrior Retreat held a private Dedication, Blessing and Groundbreaking Ceremony. 240 souls blessed this property and honored us with their presence and energy
Our very special thanks and heartfelt gratitude to esteemed speakers Christopher J. Zyda and Trine’ Eich Koehn.
The video contains their magic.
Christopher J. Zyda
Christopher J. Zyda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mozaic, LLC (www.mozaic-llc.com), an investment firm with over $1.6 billion in assets. Mozaic, located in Beverly Hills, California, provides customized wealth management services for ultra high net worth individuals, family offices and foundations located throughout the United States.
Chris began his career at The Walt Disney Company in 1988, where he held several Corporate Treasury positions and served as Disney’s Chief Investment Officer, overseeing more than $4 billion of company investments. Chris also served as a key member of Disney’s investor relations team, participated in numerous Disney capital market financings, worked on the initial public offering of Euro Disneyland’s stock on the Paris Bourse, and served as a member of the integration team for Disney’s 1995 acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC. Chris joined Amazon.com in Seattle, Washington as one of its early employees in 1998, and as its Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer built Amazon’s Corporate Treasury team and secured more than $2 billion of capital market financing to support Amazon’s global expansion. Chris then was promoted to Amazon’s Vice President and International Chief Financial Officer, and played an instrumental role in helping Amazon avoid bankruptcy in 2001 and in the company’s financial turnaround by restructuring its International Segment so that it became the first business segment in Amazon’s history to generate a profit. Chris joined eBay in San Jose, California in 2001, and as its Vice President of Finance he managed eBay’s first comprehensive budgeting process, managed investor relations, and served as a key member of its PayPal acquisition team. Chris joined Luminent in San Francisco, California in 2003 as its Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and he led the real estate investment trust’s initial public offering of stock on the New York Stock Exchange and raised a total of nearly $5 billion of capital market financing to support the company’s growth to over $9 billion in assets.
Chris was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Chris earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1989 with a concentration in Finance and achieved Beta Gamma Sigma honors. Chris also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to investments and finance, Chris enjoys CrossFit (his best Murph time is 40:47 wearing a 20 pound weight vest), Olympic lifting, running, skiing, playing the piano, and creative writing.
Triné Eich Koehn
Trine’ is the owner & founder of Reiki Wellness & Mediation Center. Utilizing the ancient wisdom of eastern healing modalities combined with her intuitive gifts.
Triné is a leader in the alternative healing community in Virginia Beach. Her level of expertise is reflected in the many health care professionals that have completed her training courses.
Triné supports the transition of her clients as they heal from physical and emotional trauma and reclaim their health and their lives. Working with many “Team” members and their wives, Triné is committed to support the success of LZ Grace and the various members of the Special Operations Forces personnel that will be visiting the Warrior Retreat Center.
On November 16, 2014, LZ-Grace Warrior Retreat held a private Dedication, Blessing and Groundbreaking Ceremony. 240 souls blessed this property and honored us with their presence and energy.
Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who generously donated to make the Warrior Fire-Pit a reality, with special thanks and appreciation to a young man and his family and Scout Troop who worked tirelessly day and night to complete the Eagle Scout project by late night on November 15, 2014.
Incredible talent, workmanship, integrity and a blessing beyond my wildest dreams.
Timothy Bedford , Timothy’s family and Troop 996 of Tidewater, Virginia
This Thanksgiving I am grateful for many, many miracles and the exceptional people in my life.
NAVY SEAL WIDOW REALIZES HUSBAND’S
DREAM OF WARRIOR RETREAT
Breaks Ground November 16th
Virginia Beach, VA — Master Chief Steve S. Bukowski passed away suddenly in 2010 after serving thirty-two years as a Navy SEAL, but his wife Lynnette is carrying on the vision they shared together of a healing sanctuary for Special Operations Forces, Veterans and their families.
On November 16th, Lynnette will celebrate the groundbreaking and dedication of LZ-Grace Warriors Retreat in Tidewater Virginia. The facility will specialize in recreational programs and alternative healing therapies for the purpose of decompression and healing through community rather than isolation.
“Four months ago it was an abandoned horse farm with peeling paint and overgrown
grass,” Lynnette says of the property, “but with the help of many good-soul volunteers and donors, it’s really shaping up.” Even Lynnette’s eighty-nine year-old mother is pitching in – the five-foot tall octogenarian has painted walls and trimmed branches to the limit of her short reach.
“We want it to feel like home away from home for our warriors,” says Lynnette, “Steve and I frequently hosted gatherings of his SEAL brothers at our house, and we saw the healing that occurs when these men rest and reconnect outside of a war environment.”
Once complete, LZ-Grace will offer traditional and non-traditional services including:
- Equine therapy
- Service canines
- Meditation gardens
- Kayaking and more…
The groundbreaking ceremony is by invitation only and will be attended by many in the Special Operations Forces community, Virginia dignitaries, community supporters, volunteers, donors and selected media teams from local newspapers and national television news affiliates.
“The outpouring of support has been humbling and wonderful,” says Lynnette, “Steve
would be thrilled.”
LZ-Grace Warrior Retreat Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose operations have relied solely upon the help and generosity of donors, volunteers and family members.
To donate, please visit www.lz-grace.com
ABOUT LYNNETTE BUKOWSKI
Highly versed in military family issues, Lynnette Bukowski spent over 15 years as a Navy Family Ombudsman and mentor at numerous Naval Special Warfare Commands. She advised Navy families through the difficulties of disruptive deployments and loss of life and experienced those turbulent waters herself as the widow of a thirty-two year veteran Navy SEAL. Lynnette was also a Court Appointed Special Advocate member and guardian ad litem, serving as a therapeutic foster mother to over a dozen special needs children. She is now an author, speaker, mentor, mother of three grown kids and founder of LZ-Grace Warriors Retreat. https://gracebeyondgrace.com/about/
ABOUT MASTER CHIEF STEVE S. BUKOWSKI
Steve S. Bukowski was a graduate of BUD/S Class 91 and served over thirty-two years as a U.S. Navy SEAL and silent professional. He was an operator, instructor and mentor with SEAL Teams ONE, THREE, FOUR, EIGHT, SDVT-1, JSOSE, and served globally at numerous other Naval Special Warfare commands. https://gracebeyondgrace.com/2013/06/21/heres-to-not-crying-by-sheri-bukowski/
To our First Responders across this great land, the many souls who have died as innocent civilians and brave Warriors since September 11, 2001, the families and friends who to this day miss and love, and to our living Warriors who continue daily to keep America safe,
LZ-Grace Warriors Retreat honors you today and each day.
We will Never Forget.
My heartfelt gratitude and special thanks to:
Our local Fire and Rescue Captain and Firemen;
John “Jack” Dye, NREMT-B, EMT Scott, and Maria Rataiczak for honoring us with your presence;
Loretta Morrison on bagpipes and the beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace;
Diane Van Campen for organizing and proving nourishment to all;
Sherry Van Campen, Toni Donlinar, Kristine Mynes, and Aaron Bukowski for working so hard to prepare LZ-Grace for this solemn and beautiful day;
to an unnamed and loved individual for wisdom, magic and guidance;
and to Nancy Watters, for filming, editing and producing a brilliant video on a moment’s notice.
I would seek for you and me a world that humans too seldom enter, for it exists only in the moment when strong men and women seek uniqueness, strive for freedom and join themselves in the struggle for interpersonal dignity, integrity and worth.
It is a world that transcends geography and calendar, society’s arbitrary categories and the small desperate narrow minds, who perpetuate terror because they cannot lead and will not get out of the way of those who do.
It is therefore a place of lofty heights and paralyzing depths, of light and darkness, of joy and pain,
of exhilarating success and disheartening failure.
It is a world where intimacy moves beyond the confines of sexual boundaries, of superficial romance, yet is free to use sight and sound, smell and taste, and touch,
to participate in the joy and the knowing of each other.
No one human wills it into being, for it exists only because of gifts – when one willingly gives of their “self” to another and that gift is accepted in trust and nurtured forever as the precious thing it is.
It is a world that most scoff at, few are willing to work for and no one can purchase.
It is that place in which we could, if we would, find the meaning of life and the very reason for being. It is first, last and always the place where divinity dwells, for if there is one word that must describe the
Grace of our need,
it is Love.
Lynnette Bukowski © 2014 All Rights Reserved
It is only by risking ourselves from one hour to another that we live at all. ~William Jones
Late at night we gossip about small events and the largeness of life. The darkness softens and I am nearly asleep when I remember one last thing I want to tell you. You know this about me. How my thoughts swirl and settle until they are ready for my voice. My final sigh, just before words, is always your cue to reach for me and hush me with a kiss.
“Tell me tomorrow,” you say.
Just before dawn you pull me around you and love me awake and whisper, Tell me now, and of course I can’t remember what I was going to say… seven long years ago.
I burrow under the guilt and try so hard to remember my one final thought and that one final day. The way the corners of your mouth turned up waiting to hear my thoughts, the way your beard scratched my skin, the way you moved in just the right way so I fit like a perfect puzzle piece against you and where that beautiful thought takes me is back to the beginning.
I’m on stage looking into lights so bright they blind me. I wait for the thrill to kick in, the adrenaline rush, and the wave that fills my lungs and lets my voice rise. I’m edgy tonight and the lyrics I need feel trapped in my throat. The bass vibrates through my bones as the opening bars to Van Morrison’s Moondance backdrops the club owner’s introduction. I hear, “Welcome Whitefeather…” and the drum brush strokes soften the bass and the piano chords kick in and it’s time to let go. I grip the microphone with both hands, breathe deeply and sing, Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance…. And there you are front and center – blue eyes blazing – with the stars up above in your eyes… I stare at you and sing with my eyes open and you seem to wait for the lyrics, You know the night’s magic, seems to whisper… and hush… before you ask me to dance.
In the middle of my song.
Because you already knew I’d say yes.
The audience thought it was part of the show, the band thought it was kick-ass, and you… well, you were always the master of calculated risk. You still are. You step into my space and back into Heaven as though you’re simply leaving for work.
I hope I can fully learn how to live in both worlds.
In this world the dawn pulls at me and I lie very still and wonder aloud, “Don’t you think that two souls connected must take turns being alive? You know, like pearl divers do. Whoever is on the surface must count the air time left so the one below can dive freely.”
I so often feel the tug on the line these days. Are you counting my breaths?
When the dogs coax me awake, I get up and wander through the house toward the scent of brewing coffee and in the dark, I trip over a pile of photographs waiting to be packed. I flip the light on and the two photos I find under my bare foot make me know without doubt you are still very much alive – somewhere – calling the shots. One is of me, posing for a band shot and the other is a distant shot of your antics on the way to our platoon honeymoon in Baguio.
I have no idea who said, I take nothing for granted now. A photograph is as precious as the moment it became a detail, but they are lovely words and poignantly true. I place the photos on the table, pour coffee and take the dogs out into the dawn.
Somehow, through your magic, I look over and you are dangling off the top of a giant Lion’s head carved into rock on the way to Baguio in the Philippines. You grip a piece of the carved mane with one hand, reach out to me with your other hand and say, “Don’t close your eyes.”
While the platoon yells encouragement from twenty feet below, I worry about how I look in these jeans and, of course, falling to my death, and I shout at all of them to close their eyes and get back on the bus. Of course they ignore me and stay where they are; ready to catch both of us if we fall.
I reach across to you and hold on with both hands.
I find a foothold and then another and you lower me slowly into the waiting arms of your Brothers. You follow me down and when you reach for me a cheer goes up. Your grin and their antics let me know what kind of honeymoon I’m in for and you whisper just to me, Never be afraid to live on the edge, babe, I’ve got you.
I wonder now if you knew then I would never be tied in and to do this alone I’d have to live on faith and grip life with both hands.
In this dawn, the weight of you gone is so heavy. Grace is the only hold I can find.
Inside, I leave the lights off and sit cross-legged in the center of the floor surrounded by half-packed boxes. I try to imagine how I will make sure with this final move that your tenderness and presence of strength is gently moved and firmly planted at Grace. What size box do I use for living dreams and night whispers and favorite songs?
I touch one photo and then another and God says, this is not the beloved, this is not the beloved, this is not the beloved. And I begin to understand that I am the container, my heart is the wrapping, and nothing will fade if I keep all of this within me.
There is nothing left to do but keep dancing. And by dancing I mean living. And by living I mean step by tiny step. I know this much is true now: we do not become all of who we are until we’re forced into it. Hemingway called it, “a grace under pressure,” which suits me these days, but I believe he meant it as a strength that rises up when we’re faced with a larger than life challenge.
This is mine: taking your impromptu visits, our memories and our dream and using them all to step into my future.
I’ve got this with both hands and enough of you in me and around me to love whatever gets in my way until it ceases to be an obstacle.
What a marvelous night for a Moondance…
Lynnette Bukowski © 2014 All Rights Reserved
June 2017 update: It has been three years since I woke in the wee hours from this dream and each day that followed has been a whirlwind of miracles, generous hearts, and tremendous hands-on help from family and Steve’s “Brothers”. I’ve met brilliant new life long friends and united with old friends who, as I do, care deeply about our Warriors finding a bit of peace in the midst of 16 years of war. Through God’s Grace, since March 2015, 383 souls have graced this land. Never doubt that miracles are real. With Steve’s spirit urging me on, I will continue to grow and hold dear, this sacred place of rest and renewal.
To learn more about LZ-Grace, please visit http://www.lz-grace.com. Thank you for your prayers.