Operation R & R
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Operation R & R

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After re deployment

After re-deployment, There's Operation R&R

As Soldiers, we are unique individuals. We have volunteered to defend our country and forgo stability and predictability in our lives. Americans across the nation are truly grateful for what we do and creatively think of ways to express their thanks.

I recently took part in Operation R&R where I was invited to Hilton Head, SC to enjoy some good food, sighseeing and recreation. It was an awesome break, and I'm happy that I took the time to apply. So many times we miss out on opportunities because we let our busy schedules deter us from signing up for fun. However, it's not too late to be part of an operation where the sand only gets between your toes.

If you have redeployed from Iraq or Afghanistan within the last 12 months, are married and you're still on active duty, you and your Family Members are eligible to receive free lodging from four to seven days on Hilton Head Island. The word lodging is actually a poor way of describing the condo I stayed in during my visit. The vacation rental sat along the beach, and every morning my husband and I enjoyed a cup of coffee to the sound of the waves and the view of serenity.

The most stressful part of our vacation was deciding what to do with our time. More than 80 businesses are part of the program, and you can receive discounts up to 50 percent on purchases at restaurants, spa and health clubs, grocery stores, and recreation and entertainment.

The founder of the program, Dr. Grant Evans, conceived the idea after seeing troops board planes to war and leave behind their teary-eyed loved ones at the airport. As a property owner, he enlisted the help of other owners to offer their vacation homes during the off season. His generosity was contagious and business owners and residents joined the team and became part of the "welcome the troops home" party.

A week before my planned visit, I was contacted by Gus Christ who referred to himself as my greeter. His role was to escort us to the condo, give us a map, a goodie bag, and an overview of what was available to us. Gus also blessed us with his wisdom as a retired CEO from New York and a plate of homemade brownies baked by his wife Iris.

Since I've been stationed at Fort Stewart, there seems to be a new adventure or learning experience just a few miles away in all directions. And just about everywhere I turn, there's someone in the community who wants to talk about what I've seen and where I've been. I recommend getting some rest and relaxation at Hilton Head, and making some new friends. 

By Master Sgt. Marcia Triggs,  3rd TD Public Affairs

Operation R & R
Operation R & R

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