Monday, July 23, 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.

David and Holly Haynes, who own and operate Tarpon Real Estate in Placida, Fla., 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. 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. With the donations pouring in, the Haynes contacted Director of Army Public Affairs-Southeast, Army Sgt. Maj. Steve Valley. “This program was all about civilians wanting to do something for the war veterans,” Sgt. Maj. Valley said. “Once everyone understood the full program, it was approved in a matter of days.”

“This is strictly a recognition program for the service members that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Sgt. Maj. Valley continued. “We’re just at the beginning, but this program has nowhere to go but up.”For service members who endured stressful conditions in combat zones, this ideal location provides the much needed opportunity to unwind with their friends and families.

Army Staff Sgt. Lee Jones, a wounded veteran being treated at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Tampa, Fla., was the first service member selected for the service-wide program. “I brought my family and friends with me for this vacation. It’s just been awesome and it really means a lot to me,” said Staff Sgt. Jones.

Lt. Col. Michael Kiser, who helped approve the program, said: “This is a great program that I really wanted to get involved in.”“We plan on expanding this program out to different areas,” said Lt. Col. Kiser. “This is a story about great Americans, service members and civilians alike, showing their appreciation, love and concern for the war veterans.”

(Pfc. David S. Choi writes for US CENTCOM Public Affairs)

For additional information contact David Haynes at Tarpon Real Estate at (941)697-9797 or by email at;


Jon said...

Wow! This is great.. Nice way to showe support. You guys ROCK!

Anonymous said...

This is a FANTASTIC idea, and God knows our troops deserve all the support they can get from home!!! Way to go!

Sgt Mgr. Wilson - US Army said...

What can I say... What a great bunch of Americans! This makes us all feel proud!

This is such agreat thing to do for those that gave more than many of us can imagine in Iraq.

I salute what you are doing, from a greatful many fighting overseas, THANK YOU!

David Haynes said...

July 16, 2007

Beach Homes for the Brave Kicks off on Palm Island, Florida!!!

We have just completed our inaugural Beach Homes for the Brave weekend this past weekend. What a great success! We have had such an outpouring of support, donations and people willing to assist with making the weekend for our troops something they will not forget.

One of the soldier's kept asking "what is the catch, why are you being so nice to us, no one is this nice to the military?" When we finally convinced him that we were doing this for him and his fellow soldiers he was truly grateful and was absolutely taken aback. One of the soldiers told us that they had not slept a full night since they had returned from Iraq and the first night on the island was able to sleep in. Another soldier wrote a letter to us on a napkin thanking us for the weekend and saying that he and his family will remember this for the rest of their lives.

To give you a quick rundown of the activities:

FRIDAY: Our Soldiers arrived and checked into their homes that were graciously donated for the weekend by 5 of our owners. They all had golf carts donated for the weekend by Jim Hicks and Mike Kazinski of Baker Customs. They all received complimentary ferry passes from Dean
Beckstead of Palm Island Transit and they also received $100 gift certificates to Rum Bay Restaurant courtesy of donations from Ken Roberson, Dave Arp, and the staff at the Resort. DJ Cutler of the Palm
Island Resort also arranged for resort privileges for all of the soldiers. We made up pass cards for them to present to receive VIP status at the resort.

SATURDAY: We held an afternoon barbeque at the Beach Place pool area on Palm Island. We had hamburgers, hot dogs and an American flag cake and just a great time with all of the participants.

SUNDAY: Everyone enjoyed the beach and had a hard time saying good bye to the island.

What a difference we can make for the heroes that are protecting our families and putting their lives on the line.

Our next weekend will be on Little Gasparilla Island. We are still working on the details of the date but should be towards the end of August. The program is really taking off and we are receiving a tremendous amount of support for this from the local and national community as well. We have some of our fishing guides offering to take our veterans fishing when they are here and numerous clubs and organizations have offered to help as well. Everyone should be proud to be a part of such a great program and something that truly makes a difference to our soldiers. We will keep everyone up to date on what is happening and how the program progresses.

Thank you for all of your help and support,
David B. Haynes
Broker / Owner
Tarpon Real Estate, Inc.
8725 Placida Rd., Suite 8
Cape Haze, FL 33946
941-270-1325 (m)
941-697-7422 (fax) said...

we just watched the story on fox tampa and wanted to know how we can become part of this wonderful program. we own a home on boca grande and would love to donate the use of our property as well.

Debbie & Bill Sears

KIM B said...

I had the priviledge last month to help with the kick off of Beach Homes for the Brave on Palm Island, Fl. and I can’t tell you how happy I was to do it. The smiles never stopped.

This weekend we were out on Little Gasparilla Island with our second group for Beach Homes for the Brave. My heart just swells with gatitude and pride for the Service men and women and their families. It’s a small thing to do to let them know we appreciate the sacrifices they are making for our Freedom.
Thanks again!

Oria said...

People should read this.

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