"After you've come home from a war, maybe you could stand a little R&R at the beach."
July 18, 2007 - Beach Homes for the Brave Program Kicks-Off in Florida
Palm Island, Fla. (Army News Service, July 18, 2007) - Just off the southwest coast of Florida, big things are happening on the private, secluded beach of Palm Island.
"Beach Homes for the Brave," a new program for military veterans and those wounded while serving in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom kicked off its inaugural event last weekend. This program provides the war veterans with a complimentary weekend getaway to Palm Island.
Relatives and friends of Army Staff Sgt. Lee Jones enjoy a game of soccer during 'Beach Homes for the Brave' in Palm Island, Florida.
David and Holly Haynes, who own and operate Tarpon Real Estate in Cape Haze, Florida, decided to start the program to provide wounded service members with the opportunity to enjoy a stay on Palm Island.
"We wanted to personally offer something and say 'thank you,'" said Mr. Haynes.
The program includes 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.
After some deliberation, the couple decided to use their background as a means to show their gratitude to the wounded service members.
Army Master Sgt. Eddie Licon and his wife Eva and Army Staff Sgt. Lee Jones along with his wife Maria cut a ceremonial cake during 'Beach Homes for the Brave', in Palm Island, FL.
David Haynes, who helped organize the project, prepares for the cook-out in Palm Island, Fla. for the Beach Homes for the Brave Program.
E-mailing dozens of beach home owners, the Haynes asked if they would like to offer their beachfront homes to the service members and their families.
"The responses were overwhelming," said Mr. Haynes. “About 50 owners donated their homes."
Not only did homeowners express interest, but other local businesses jumped at the chance to participate in the program.
"They were all thrilled to participate and donate these services," said Ms. Haynes with a smile.