Luxury Beach Home Vacations Offered To Wounded Troops

July 21st, 2007 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
MarineCorpsTimes
Posted : Saturday Jul 21, 2007 9:01:13 EDT
Wounded soldiers and their families are being treated to a weekend at the beach in private homes belonging to generous people.

A program known as “Beach Homes for the Brave” kicked off its inaugural weekend July 13 on the secluded beaches of Palm Island off the southwest coast of Florida.

About six soldiers enjoyed the luxurious surroundings with houses and extras that would usually go for about $1,200 a weekend.

The complimentary getaway for troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan was started through the efforts of an officer at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., who owns a home on Palm Island, and David and Holly Haynes, who own and operate Tarpon Real Estate in Placida, Fla.

“For me it is a ‘thank you,’ it’s a great thing. The feelings we get from this is when we see the looks on their faces and hear some of their comments,” David Haynes told Army Times.

The soldiers who were treated to the first weekend of donated houses, he said through a hearty laugh, “kept asking ‘When’s the other shoe going to drop, where’s the catch, when’s the time share presentation?’ ”

But there is no catch.

Haynes and his wife wrote e-mails to dozens of Palm Island homeowners as far away as Michigan, Iowa and Oregon, asking if they would participate by donating the use of their homes.

With more than 40 homeowners eagerly wanting to give a weekend away, he said, “It has absolutely taken off.”

The plan is to have four houses available each weekend with room for up to eight people in one house, whether it’s families or soldiers and their caretakers.

Other local businesses stepped up soon after and donated the other amenities, and offers are still pouring in.

Haynes sees this as something that could spring up all over Florida and maybe even the rest of the country.

“Any vacation company in the country can do this. This can be the model for everyone else to follow,” he suggested.

As of now, the program is open only to wounded troops stationed in Florida, largely because the Veterans Administration medical center in Tampa is close by, but also because transportation from other parts is not included in the getaway.

But the program does include free ferry transportation to the island, lodging in a fully furnished beachfront home, meals at the Palm Island Resort’s Rum Bay Restaurant, complimentary golf carts and other resort-like privileges on the island.

Sgt. Maj. Steve Valley, director of Army Public Affairs-Southeast, which falls under the Office of Chief of Public Affairs, is coordinating the weekends for soldiers and helped the Haynes get to the soldiers.

He estimated there are 12,000 troops assigned to military bases in Florida, which include wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Valley expects the program to grow, not only in Florida, but in other areas where there is a military presence.

“Right now we’re talking to people in military communities who own property in Virginia Beach,” Valley said. “I really envision this program, or something like it, going national over the next year. There’s really a ground swell of support out there.”

Lt. Col. Michael Kiser, who works with Valley and who helped approve the program, said in an Army press release that the program was something he “really wanted to get involved in.”

“We plan on expanding this program out to different areas,” Kiser said in the release. “This is a story about great Americans, service members and civilians alike, showing their appreciation, love and concern for the war veterans.”

For more information about a the program, write to Kiser at [email protected] or Valley at [email protected].


10 Responses

  1. Kurt (the infidel)

    Now this is awesome! people like this represent the core beauty that is America.

  2. mindy abraham

    Now this is a cool idea-our troops deserve to be treated like royalty, and I am glad there are other people who think so. :smile: :smile: :mrgreen:

  3. Dan (The Infidel)

    Excellent idea. Man, I swear some of people of this country are so generous. Good to hear this kind of stuff.
    Bet it never gets on CNN though.

  4. John Cunningham

    Creative time-sharing.

  5. danielle

    Awww that’s so sweet. They totally deserve an awesome weekend getaway!

  6. France the retour

    Creative time-sharing.

    are there hostesses ? :beer: :beer: :beer:

    I mean behind the beer bar

  7. the_right_reverend

    Outstanding support for the Wounded Warrior

    Bet you won’t see Breck Boy Edwards coughing up any space at his Beach house out here on Figure 8 Island here on the NC coast.

  8. azbastard

    now thats the real america we know and love

  9. Kim

    I had the priviledge to help in the kick of of the Beach Homes for the Brave on Palm Island, Fl. and I can’t tell you how happy I was to do it. The smiles never stopped. It’s a small thing to let these Brave men and women know we appreciate the sacrifices they are making for our Freedom.

  10. Matt

    What a great way to thank those awesome men and women! :mrgreen:

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