Operation Rest and Relax: Welcome “Home,” Soldier

As a way to say “thank you” to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, an organization was formed this year to provide virtually free vacations on Hilton Head Island for returning soldiers and their families. It’s called Operation R&R. The Vacation Company and several of our owners have become part of the program.
Dr. Grant Evans, a part-time island resident (“soon to be full time,” he says) founded the organization as a very real way to show U.S. troops, who have not seen their families in a year to a year and a half, true appreciation for their service. A number of rental property owners are providing homes and villas free of charge.
Evans, and now a growing number of volunteers, have approached local businesses such as restaurants (55 of them are in the program), water sports companies, spas, and salons to provide discounts for the soldiers and their families. Evans said the response has been overwhelming. All participating businesses are providing deep discounts or simply offering free services or meals.
When the soldier and his or her family arrive, local “greeters” take them to the property where a welcome basket is waiting for them, thanks to one of the first sponsors, Atlantic Community Bank. And the refrigerator is stocked with enough food to get them started! The “greeters” remain “on duty” during the family’s stay.
The group is a non-profit, under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, itself an extraordinary organization. The Vacation Company and our participating owners are very proud to be a part of Operation R&R, and very proud of this “home town” response.
      Interested in participating or finding out more about it?  Call us at 800-545-3303, or email info@vacationcompany.com.


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