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On Mission to Serve the Veteran Community

Danny Farrar Opens Up About the Mission, Vision and Heart of the New Veteran Services Center at Goodwill Monocacy Crossing

Article by Kristen Wojdan

Photography by Lytebox Photography

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

Hailing from a small town in Virginia, if you asked young Dannay Farrar where he would be and what he would be doing when he got older, he would tell you, “I would never join the army, I would never join the infantry and I would never jump out of planes.” Fast forward a few years, and Danny enlisted in the Army and served in the 82nd Airborne, 32nd Infantry, the Old Guard and a specialized unit created for Iraq to train and build the transitional force. Danny was a convoy escort for VIPs, serving in Iraq for several months and in the U.S. Army for eight years. 

As he transitioned to civilian life, Danny was hesitant to move to Frederick, but admits, “I moved here and fell in love with the place. I credit Frederick with giving me a second lease in life.” At the time, Danny had been accepted into the Montgomery County Fire Academy and he was preparing to start a new career in fire service. While waiting to get through the process, he started Soliderfit. 

Danny recalls, “I started Soldierfit two weeks before I went into the Fire Academy. I would go to the Fire Academy at 4:00 AM and train until 4:30-5:00 PM. Then, I would go train clients until 8-9 PM. Then I would go home to study. Then I would get a little sleep and do it all over again. I did that for 6 months.”

Danny will tell you that he took the Fire Academy very seriously and it showed. He graduated top of his class in everything, earning three out of four awards: Fire Science, Physical Fitness and the Chief’s Award—Overall Best Recruit. 

After graduating from the Fire Academy, Danny worked 24-hour shifts and then he would train clients. He served as a firefighter for five years and loved a lot about the service. As Soldierfit started to ramp up, he had a decision to make—stay with fire service or grow his fitness company. “I’m an all or nothing human,” Danny explained. “Either I’m doing it or I’m not. And, part of me in the back of my mind thought, ‘There is somebody who is dying for this [fire service] slot that I hold.’”

He originally started Soliderfit in parking lots and leased spaces. Danny shared, “I needed to make some extra money, somehow, some way…Sometimes, I look back at all of this and think, ‘I don’t know how we made it.’ I was charging $25 for an hour of personal training.”  Then he added, “There is something to be said for staying the course.”

And, there’s a lot to say about the results from “staying the course.” Today, Soldierfit has thirteen locations throughout Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Danny also founded Platoon 22 with an original mission of preventing Veteran suicide. 

“My brother committed suicide. I attempted suicide. I’ve lost people to suicide,” Danny explained, “I wanted to help others and give support from a person who has been there and experienced it…Now I see the families who have lost loved ones to suicide. The stats don’t lie; children of people who have taken their lives are much more likely to take their own lives. It’s a ripple effect. We are doing our best to stop the cycle.” 

“The second aspect [of Platoon 22] has come to fruition through the Veteran Services Center,” Danny continued, “There is a social contract that we enter into with our service members…they should have the basic necessities. We provide volunteers to help them transition back into society and honor the promises made to those who served in the military…I want [Veterans] to understand that they are not taking anything from anyone. The only people they are taking from if they do not get treatment or ask for help, is from their families…I want them to know it’s okay to raise their hand and say they need help.”

After five years of dreaming, collaborating and planning the Platoon Veteran Services Center (VSC) will open in November 2022! Everything is centered around the one goal to be the best-in-class at transitional support for Veterans. Danny will tell you that none of this would have happened without the incredible people on his team or without Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley. 

“The partnership with Goodwill is so special. When we sat down together with the Maryland Secretary of Veteran Affairs to move the VA Center here, it was ‘WE’ that gave him the confidence to do it. Goodwill is an international organization that has decades of proven success and [Platoon 22] has a passionate team to reach out to the Veteran community. Those two things put together allows us to be successful. It’s been five years to get to this point. It would not have happened without this partnership!”

Holly Schor, Vice President of Maryland Operations at Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, couldn’t agree more, “The partnership with the Platoon 22 team has been collaborative and rewarding…It is great when you can find like-minded passionate people who want to make change and get stuff done. That is what we have found working with the team. [Being new to Frederick], Platoon 22 has helped me navigate the community quicker than anticipated and helped the community understand Goodwill in a new way.”

To explain the significance of the VSC being located in Frederick, Holly explained, “There are more than 340,000 Veterans in Maryland. About 70% of these Veterans will be within an hour’s drive from our Frederick center.”

Holly adds, “Veterans are likely to not identify as a Veteran, which makes them less likely to seek out benefits to which they have access. By including various service providers into the center, we hope to create an opportunity to invite Veterans to explore resources they might otherwise have not taken advantage of. Once the building is open, Platoon 22 will be managing the day-to-day operations of the center on our behalf. They plan to provide tours and activities to engage the Veteran community, with the hope to connect them to resources when they need them.”

When asked what was the most important thing he wanted people to know about the Platoon Veteran Services Center, Danny shared the draft of the statement that will be placed on the wall between two metal silhouettes of soldiers NAME and NAME:

“It’s been said that you die twice.

Once on the day that you die,

And again when your name is said for the last time.

These two silhouettes represent two soldiers who committed suicide in Frederick County, which inspired us to start Platoon 22.

It has become our mission to ensure that their names never die and their loss was not in vain.

This center exists to assemble the critical resources needed for successful transition back to civil society after completion of service.

In their names, we stand vanguard, doing the good work to ensure that no more empty boots enter the formation of those Veterans lost to suicide.”

Danny Farrar is a visionary leader who has made it his life mission to provide resources and support to Veterans and their families. After experiencing first-hand extreme loss, hurt and trauma, Danny shares, “I am a fan of the term ‘post traumatic growth.’ For people doing big things, there is something motivating them. I think society has gotten away from the notion that pain is a good motivator…we can use pain productively.”



Provides career development, training and educational resources needed to secure meaningful employment. This includes resume support, mock-interviewing, connections to local jobs, computer skills training, essential skills and financial literacy classes.


The mission is to end Veteran suicide through the successful reintegration of service members and their families by assembling critical resources, providing peer support and developing transitional programs. The team is available to assist with benefits navigation, connecting Veterans to resources and providing various recreational offerings.


Created by the State Legislature in 1999 with the mission of assisting Veterans, active-duty service members, their families and dependents, in securing benefits earned through military service.


Offers confidential help for Veterans, service members and their families at no cost in a non-medical setting. Services include counseling for needs such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Utilizes a Mission Based Trauma Recovery model to help recovering Warriors reconnect with life, their families, their communities and each other.


A new standard in home care with a personalized, holistic approach, helping clients heal, live independently and, ultimately, thrive.


Equipped with a national network of medical, dental and behavioral health providers, LHI provides customized health care solutions to government and commercial customers.


Provides non-denominational spiritual guidance and support.