Hometown Habitat News

‘Time to pay it forward:’ This Villages-based nonprofit puts veterans first

Marie Bogdonoff started Villagers For Veterans to serve those who served

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – The Villages has attracted one of the highest concentrations of veterans of any community in the nation.

Nearly 20,000 military veterans call The Villages home, and this week’s Getting Results Award winner tells us their donations and support have helped her nonprofit make a difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate.

Marie Bogdonoff started Villagers For Veterans in 2015.

The retired accountant was looking for a way to give back and after a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center, she found her calling.

The nonprofit is dedicated to helping veterans get the tools they need for independent living. Her current project includes remodeling a home in Fruitland Park that will become a transitional home for six formerly homeless women veterans. Bogdonoff calls it Ashley’s Cottage.

“This is going to be the living room and over here we’re going to have a nice modular for the TV,” said Bogdonoff, giving News 6 a tour. “Super excited to make this happen and we just love the idea of welcoming our women veterans here.”

Right now, the three-bedroom home is under renovation. The cabinets are torn out and crews will be updating the flooring and painting the walls soon.

“I never knew there were so many homeless veterans because you don’t see them on the streets,” Bogdonoff said. “They move in with friends and family. There’s a term of endearment they use called couch surfers.”

She said women veterans in particular have been in the shadows for a long time.