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Anonymous $1.4 million donation pays off outstanding debt for Maine veterans retreat

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House in the Woods Heroes Golf Tournament via Facebook
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House in the Woods in Lee, Maine.

A Maine organization that organizes retreats for service members and their families received a $1.4 million gift just in time for Christmas.

The House in the Woods organization in Lee, Maine, says an anonymous donor made the gift, which is enough to retire the group's debt.

Founder Paul House described it as "a gift from God" and said the people behind House in the Woods "were kind of overwhelmed" by the realization that they no longer have any debt.

House and his wife, Dee, created the House in the Woods after their son Joel A. House was killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq. The organization takes service members, veterans and gold star family members on outdoor trips, mostly to hunt and fish.

Since organizing its first trip in 2010, Paul House says his group has served some 1,700 servicemen and servicewomen and family members. The trips are both meant as a "thank you" to the service members and families for their sacrifice and a chance to recover from the stresses of military service.

House says without the debt, House in the Woods will be able to devote more resources to its outdoor retreats. He says he'll continue to look for individuals and corporations to sponsor trips so they can serve even more service members and their families.