It’s everyone’s favorite day of the week… FRIDAY!! And while every article I have written hits home for me and inspires me to be better every day, Friday is truly the day that excites me.
Because today, I get to highlight an area where we can all give back. Not just with our actions and thoughts, but also with our wallets. I’m not a wealthy person and I don’t have a lot to give, but when I can spend money with a company that benefits others, or give just a few dollars to a charity that benefits our community, that’s where I like to give.
Today, I shine our brightest light on Operation R & R.
Dr. Grant Evans had seen enough. On his frequent trips between his home in Columbus, Ohio and second home on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina he saw plenty of soldiers at the Savannah airport. He said, “In the airport I caught myself staring, watching these men and women, the big hugs, the tears. I thought that it is absolutely unbelievable that these people are going over there and we’re just going on with our daily lives.” He wanted to help.
The following information is from their website…
“In 2008 Dr. Evans’s vision to help in some way came to fruition and Operation R&R was born. Operation R&R was the first non-profit organizations designed to provide our service men and women an opportunity to reconnect with their spouse and children upon their return from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other worldwide deployments through rest and relaxation in the Lowcountry.
“The Hilton Head Island location alone has served approximately 800 military families from two local Army Bases and one Marine Base. More than 400 property owners offering their homes and villas free of charge, 60 restaurants and 35 service related business owners providing valuable discounts along with the Westin Resort and Spa are all generously involved in Operation R&R’s efforts. Together we are able to ensure that our military families have a chance to spend some time away from their everyday lives to strengthen relationships that have been strained due to long separations and extreme circumstances.
“Due to the generous outpour of support from individuals and businesses, the success of Operation R&R programs began reaching more and more families. Dr. Evans and the ORR Board of Directors realized that the need for military families to come together and reconnect was growing. Due to this increasing need an Operation R&R affiliate was opened in Charleston, South Carolina in 2012. As Operation R&R continues to grow our vision is to continue to support our military families through the opening of other affiliate ORR locations across the country.
“In 2013 the “Families of Fallen” Gold Star Program was added to Operation R&R’s scope of services. This program includes the loved ones of those service members that have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country, their lives. Widows, widowers, children and parents, of our service members killed in action will now have the opportunity to benefit from reconnecting with their loved ones and rebuilding their lives that have been permanently altered.
“It is the vision of Dr. Evans and the support from the ORR Board of Directors, the hundreds of volunteers and the generous individual supporters and businesses that has sustained this innovative and much needed program. Through dedication and hard work Operation R&R continues to strive to touch, enrich and honor the sacrifice and commitment of our military families across the Lowcountry.”
I’m a big believer of the universe delivering things at the right time and Operation R & R came at me twice in one day. One of their volunteers happened to receive therapy at Drayer with our very own Katie Campbell and then that evening at Nick’s Steak and Seafood where I spend my evenings slinging drinks, a group of 12 people came in for dinner and I learned that not only were they a military family welcoming their son home, but they had a card from Operation R&R. Turns out, Nick’s is one of the over 60 local restaurants that offers a deep discount to participants.
I can’t think of a better local organization to highlight this week.
I encourage everyone to take a look at their website to learn more about their programs. Maybe volunteer, maybe toss a couple bucks there way, or maybe even find out if your own business can help contribute on even a small scale. Every little bit helps and these are some of the most appreciative people I have ever met.
Thanks as always for humoring my article and taking a few minutes out of your day to look into something new and local that can help those in our own community.
Oh… And don’t forget to sign up for MURPH!! Lol Stay strong Army and I’ll see you at the gym!