Respite center opens for families of those killed in combat

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A respite center for families in the United States who have lost loved ones in combat since 9/11 will open Friday on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

Betsy Reed Schultz led the work to renovate her Port Angeles bed and breakfast into a one-of-a-kind respite center for Gold Star families as she mourned the death of her son in combat, reported PeninsulaDailyNews.

The first families to arrive at Captain Joseph House on Friday lost loved ones in Afghanistan at the same time Schultz's son was killed. Army Capt. Joseph Schultz, 36, was killed on May 29, 2011 when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device.

The families of two others killed in the blast and one survivor are among those flocking to the center.

Families will be offered opportunities to sightsee, learn to surf and eat complementary crab at the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival. The house provides a safe and peaceful environment where family members can connect on a more personal level with others on a similar journey in a home away from home, according to the website from the Captain Joseph House Foundation.

After their five-night visit, they will be driven back to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to return to their homes across the country.

This will be the first of several soft openings, Schultz said, with the next one during Thanksgiving week and another in December.

Construction on the Captain Joseph House broke ground in June 2013. Total expenses have been $770,000, Schultz said, while donated goods and services totaled $970,000.

“I am so grateful not only for our community, who have been so generous, but also for people across the country who have continued to donate,” Schultz said.

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