Rodeheaver Foundation receives grant to build military-style obstacle course


Rodeheaver Foundation has received a grant to create a military-style obstacle course to benefit the boys at Rodeheaver Boys Ranch and honor fallen soldier Sgt. Timothy Officer. The organization also recently built a learning center with funds from a St. Johns County and Palatka Rotary Club Grant.

Children without a place to live due to parental death, desertion, divorce, disability or dysfunction can make Rodeheaver Boys Ranch their home. The ranch, which is located in Palatka, has been providing complete care for up to 50 disadvantaged boys over the last 68 years.

Sgt. Timothy A. Officer, a tactical air control party airman, stayed at the ranch as a child before serving 14 years in the Air Force during which he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He won the Bronze Star twice, once with the "V" device for valor, and over 20 medals and ribbons. Officer died in 2015 from a parachute-training incident during a military freefall training exercise at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. The sergeant visited the ranch prior to the accident and showed interest in building a military-style obstacle course on the property.

The Rodeheaver Boys Ranch just completed his proposed obstacle course thanks to a grant from the Lastinger Family Foundation.

The ranch sits on 800 acres of land in Palatka; it has its own boy scout camp, vehicle program, learning and tutoring center, equestrian program, garden and obstacle course.

Rodeheaver Foundation has also received a grant from the Quad Club Rotary Collaboration of St. Johns County and the Rotary Club of Palatka to build a learning center on the property. The center would replicate a modern library or student center and be used as a place for boys to be tutored with homework, SAT prep and other academics. The grants have allowed the foundation to build classrooms at the ranch with almost 20 new computers and laptops.           Rodeheaver is currently fundraising for a part-time tutor to make use of the property's new learning center. Having a funded tutor in the past helped the ranch boys consistently maintain an overall grade point average of 3.00 or better. Rodeheaver Boys Ranch and Rodeheaver Foundation do not receive any government funding.

Rodeheaver Foundation is hosting its third annual fundraising tournament benefitting Rodeheaver Boys Ranch March 10, 2018, at the Palatka City Docks. This event draws registrants and boats from various cities in Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, Palm Coast, Ponte Vedra, Palatka, Gainesville and Jacksonville. Contact Director of Development Krista Purcell at (386) 983-0658 or for more information.