There has been much coverage recently of the new Vineyard House sober living community being built off Holmes Hole Road in Vineyard Haven. All of us at Vineyard House wish to make certain that someone who played a key role at the inception of this project receives the recognition his generosity deserves.
In 2006 Jerry Goodale sold Vineyard House over two acres of land for a very low price, asking only that we pay him for the land when we moved forward with the project and sold the existing houses. It was essentially an interest-free loan. He did this so our small nonprofit could construct a purpose-built sober living facility to replace the three existing houses, which were never designed for group living. Jerry later donated two additional adjoining acres to enable us to meet local groundwater requirements. The tacit understanding was that this would be a short-term loan. However, due to unforeseen circumstances — including the Afghanistan war that cancelled the U.S. Air Force construction team originally scheduled to build our facility, and the severe economic downturn of 2008 — our project was put on hold more than once.
For all those years, Jerry quietly waited for his payment. We recently broke ground for our new facility and per our agreement with Jerry, we paid our entire debt in full. I was happy to hand Jerry a check this week and express our gratitude in person. We thank Jerry for his patience. We also thank him for his enormous generosity and civic-mindedness, without which the new Vineyard House project could never have happened.
The writer is board president for Vineyard House Inc.