On the night of the Freedom Alliance San Diego Bay cruise, 47 couples came through a bad rain, some from over 50 miles away, to enjoy dinner and dancing on board the Hornblower harbor cruise ship. These couples are members of the Navy (Southwest Region) Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), which means they or a loved one is living with a special need, handicap, or illness. The EFMP covers all branches of the military and provides support for service members with difficulties.
The Freedom-Alliance-hosted cruise was for the adults facing challenges or the parents of special needs children. The EFMP liaison said that the response for the event was overwhelming, as these couples couldn’t believe that an organization was doing something for the grownups.
The EFMP guests were treated to an elegantly decked dining room with a select Freedom Alliance welcome on their dinner plates. The first course was served as the ship embarked, and the couples got to know each other during the meal. After dessert, they hit the dance floor.
“We haven’t been out in three years,” one couple said, “but when we heard about this, we drove all the way down from Temecula. We even booked a room nearby so we could make a weekend getaway out of it.”
Another guest exclaimed, “Thank you for doing this. It couldn’t have happened at better time. I really needed to get out and let my hair down, and here I am!”
Three hours of cultured dining, sharing, cruising, and dancing made all the difference for these families facing such challenges as autism, vision impairment, and even cancer. The EFMP families are indeed exceptional, and Freedom Alliance was more than happy to provide a temporary escape from their day-to-day struggles.