New Defenders Lodge Gives Veterans Free Hotel Stays

WASHINGTON—This Veteran’s Day, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation (PenFed Foundation) has launched The Lee and Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge, the nation’s largest free hotel for veterans receiving medical care. This project, the first of its kind, will serve outpatients at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Hospital in California, and is made possible through a $17 million public-private partnership between the PenFed Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Giving the gift of the Defenders Lodge isn’t just an endowment from the foundation, but from all of our generous donors who opened their hearts and made the idea of a free hotel for veterans come true,” said Christopher Flynn, president and CEO of the PenFed Foundation. “Through the support of our donors and the community-at-large we’ll be able to provide veterans and their caregivers up to 20,000 free nights of stay annually at a hotel with world-class accommodations.”

Set to welcome guests in January 2014, the Defenders Lodge will serve veterans receiving medical care at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Hospital along with their caretakers. As part of a partnership with the VA, the PenFed Foundation is raising $11 million in private donations to pay for construction of the hotel and so far it’s raised about half of the funds.


At over 34,000 square feet, the lodge features 52 rooms and 104 beds, a family room with a fireplace, an upgraded kitchen, an activity room, a laundry room, an open-air atrium, and a library stocked with books. The entire project from the ground up takes accessibility into account. All doorways and bathrooms are wheelchair accessible.

“Our veterans deserve the world,” added Flynn. “And we are starting by giving them the Defenders Lodge.”

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