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“Serving in the military changed the trajectory of my life and was one of the best decisions I ever made,” explained Gretchen Pace, the March 2022 Gratitude “Friend of Freedom” award winner.  Pace is President and Founder of Goose and Willow, an artisan home goods company celebrating America and the Veterans who have served.  “All of our products feature Americana-themed hand painted artwork and designs by US military veterans and our goal is to source everything right here in the USA.”

Gretchen attended the University of Virginia, where she graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies.  She commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer through the University’s Army ROTC Program.  “I love America, so much so that I volunteered to put everything on the line when I raised my right hand to serve.”  Gretchen served nearly nine years in the active Army as a Military Intelligence Officer in various locations throughout the US, as well as Korea and Afghanistan. She is currently a Major in the Army Reserves assigned to a unit in Charlottesville Virginia.   “Although I am no longer in the active Army, I think supporting small business and launching one myself helps sustain the economic backbone needed to amplify our national security posture. I launched the company in July 2021 in an effort to build a community of creators and customers who share a similar love of country.”

Goose & Willow will partner with Veteran artists, licensing their work to create unique patterns for a variety of artisan home décor products.  “For each Veteran artist we work with, we will also share their story on our website in an effort to spread awareness about those who have served, and the unique opportunities and life changing experiences military service affords,” explains Pace.  “In addition to partnering with Veteran artists, I would like to work with as many Veteran owned / operated suppliers as possible.  Finding manufacturers and suppliers in the US that are also Veteran owned / operated is challenging, but it is always top of mind as I seek to establish new partnerships.”

 The company offers discounts to military—past and present, and has plans on the drawing board to give a percentage of profits to local Veteran non-profit organizations.   “I think during this time of polarization and division, it’s really important to remember all of the positive things we love about our country.  The G&W mission is to bring people together with artwork through celebrating America and the things that make it wonderfully unique.“

Each month, “The Freedom Fund” Board of Directors will choose a FOF award winner to be featured on  Winners will get a trophy and sometimes a monetary award.  To nominate person or organization that promotes and protects freedom in our community, email us at

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