If only love and passion could bring a project to fruition, Joe Lamica’s dream of the ‘Longhorn Hideout’ Wounded Veterans Retreat would already be built!

On the three acres he and wife Carol own at 2070 S. Powell, Lamica foresees a free retreat for wounded Veterans to interact with their menagerie of (mostly rescued) animals. He believes gentle interaction with the animals, set with the backdrop of Kanab’s scenic vermillion cliffs, would give a wounded Veteran and family a pleasant peaceful western experience.

“The vision is the animals would be therapeutic for the Veterans interacting with them,” said Lamica.

His enthusiasm is contagious as he gives a tour of his property and introductions to his menagerie of animals. “Being around animals helps the Veterans and families relax,” added Lamica.

Joe and Carol Lamica started Longhorn Hideout because they think Veterans deserve to be treated like the heroes they are. The Longhorn Retreat mission is that they are committed to providing wounded Veterans and their families with a free and unique western experience.

Military is near and dear to the Lamicas. Joe’s father, Everett, served in the Korean, and later Vietnam, wars. Joe said his father was haunted by memories of war.

Joe, along with his four brothers, also served in the military – he in the Marine Corps. He was stationed in North Carolina, Okinawa, Japan, and later deployed to the Tinian Mariana Islands to rebuild runways for the first time since World War II.

After military service, he and Carol made their home in Averill Park, New York. He took a job with Rensselaer County Highway Department, where he worked for over 32 years as highway supervisor. He also started his own business, Lamica Excavation.

Joe and Carol both liked the idea of eventually starting up a wounded Veterans’ retreat. They scoured the country in search of a place for their vision to call home, eventually settling on the Kanab area. While scouting out locations to purchase for their project, they drove out to Deer Springs, where a herd of longhorn walked in front of their car.

“As we watched the majestic animals walk past us, Carol and I looked at each other and said, ‘that’s it!’ That was the birth of the Longhorn Hideout name.”

Through various contacts, they were introduced to fellow Vets Steve Browning, Anthony Chatterly and Terry Parthemore, all of whom were helpful in them filing as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Besides Lamica, Longhorn Hideout Retreat Board members are Terry Parthemore, Linda Smith and John Jacobs.

The Lamicas eventually settled on the Powell Drive location, and have been working on their project ever since. They have been pleased and happy that the community has welcomed them and the Longhorn Hideout concept. They are also pleased that different groups have brought children by to interact with the three pot bellied pigs, horses, pony, roosters, Guinea hens and, you guessed it – miniature Longhorn cows!

In the near future, the Lamicas hope to build or purchase a couple of cabins or some other type of housing for the Veterans and family members when visiting. They also envision having a small area for RV parking.

But all these terrific plans don’t come cheap! Fundraising and donations will be imperative to the project’s completion and future!

There will be a May 26 Voyage for Veterans motorcycle ride in benefit of the Longhorn Hideout Wounded Veterans Retreat. Meet at the Zion Harley Davidson in Washington, Utah at 8 a.m. For more information, please call Joe at 518-469-5171.

“Carol and I asked ourselves, ‘what can we do special to help wounded Vets?’ I’m just a regular Joe trying to do the right thing for our Veterans,” said Lamica.