PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — A respite center for families in the United States who have lost loved ones in combat since 9/11 will open Friday on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
Betsy Reed Schultz led the work to renovate her Port Angeles bed and breakfast into a one-of-a-kind respite center for Gold Star families as she grieved her son’s combat death, the Peninsula Daily News reported.
The first families who will arrive at Captain Joseph House Friday lost loved ones in Afghanistan at the same time Schultz’s son was killed. Army Captain Joseph Schultz, 36, was killed on May 29, 2011, when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive.
The families of two others killed the blast and one survivor are among those coming to the center.
The families will be offered opportunities for sightseeing, learning to surf and eating complementary crab at the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival. The house provides a safe and peaceful environment where family members can connect on a more personal level with others on a similar journey in a home-away-from home setting, according to the Captain Joseph House Foundation website.
After their five-night visit, they will be driven back to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to return to their homes across the country.
This will be the first of several soft openings, Schultz said, with the next during Thanksgiving week and another in December.
Ground was broken for the Captain Joseph House in June 2013. Total expenditures have been $770,000, Schultz said, while donated goods and services have amounted to $970,000.
“I am so grateful for not just our community, who have been so generous, but also people around the country who have continued to donate,” Schultz said.