Operation R & R
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ORR on Hilton Head Island

Nonprofit gives military families a chance to enjoy a vacation on Hilton Head Island.

While visiting Hilton Head Island from Columbus, Ohio, Grant Evans was suprised by all of the soldiers he saw in the airports and on local TV saying goodbye to their families before being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Evans thought it would be great if these military families could go on vacation and reconnect after their long deployments. He and his wife, Mia, own a condo on Hilton Head Island that sits empty for most of the year they're in Columbus where Evans works as a chiroprator. So the couple decided to offer their condo to a military family to enjoy free for a week after returning from deployment.

The idea quickly caught on, and soon Beach Properties of Hilton Head, the company that manages the Evanses' condo, had rounded up 60 other condo owners who wanted to dontate the use of their homes to military families.

Evans' simple gesture to share his condo with a military family has turned into the nonprofit organization called Operation R&R. Now about 10 property management companies on the island, more than 100 greeter famiies and about 60 restaurants and 30 businesses have joined the cause. Between January and the end of May 2008, R&R brought 57 families to Hilton Head for vacations. By the end of May this year, the group will have brought about 275 more families to the island.

"It's grown quite a bit," said Evans, who admitted he had no intentions of doing anything this big. He said it just happened.

Evans said the majority of the money his organization receives, which goes toward groccery cards, gift bags ans supplies for the families, comes from grants such as the $10,000 one the Heritage Classic Foundation presented to R&R last year. 

This year, R&R is participating in the foundation's Birdies for Charity program, which Evans thinks will bring in between $6,000 and $7,000 for his group. Through the Birdies program, local charities ask people to pledge money for each birdie made in the Verizion Heritage golf tournament. The foundation matches that money to some percentage and gives it all back to those charities participating in the program.

Evans said the money Heritage raises each year allows his organization to provide vacations for about 75 to 100 families. He said the bigges contributor toward grants for R&R was the Heritage Classic Foundaiton.

Operation R&R is not the only way Evans volunteers his time. He and his wife have volunteered for 12 years with Kairos Prison Ministry International- a Christian ministry that reaches out to incarcerated individuals, their families and those who work with them.


Operation R & R
Operation R & R

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