If the idea of a two night, all-expense paid vacation at a beach resort sounds appealing, then Operation at Ease is just the program for you.
Operation at Ease, a non-profit organization, was begun as way of expressing gratitude for the service and sacrifices of active-duty military personnel who have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and their Families, according to its website.
According to Don Hill, an Operation at Ease board member and program spokesperson, Operation at Ease is currently accepting applications for complimentary getaway weekends from March through October at St. James Plantation, Plantation, North Carolina, a coastal destination about a two and a half hour drive from Fort Bragg.
“The people here in St. James are extremely generous and supportive of the military,” Hill said. Locals hold fundraisers in the spring to raise money to fund the program, and additional funding is obtained through donations.
Getaway amenities provided to servicemembers and their Families are:
Smoke- and pet-free lodging in full-kitchen condominiums;
Complementary meal on the evening of arrival;
Breakfast and snacks;
Boat trip down the intercoastal waterway;
Session with a photographer;
Additionally, recreational activities include golf, swimming and tennis. Tours of Southport, North Carolina, a visit to the Oak Island lighthouse, or a ferry ride to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher may also be provided.
Every detail from housing management to coordinating volunteers to assist servicemembers is planned and executed.
In its eight-year existence, Operation at Ease has hosted 360 Families, and will continue to provide accommodations for six Families each month, said Hill, who encourages Soldiers to apply.
“We want to fill up with applications because we love hosting Soldiers,” he said.
Applications can be completed at www. oaeamerica.org.