Marking its fifth year in existence, the Gainesville Getaway summer series of 2016 was a smash hit. Like we knew it would be. Because, if anything, our entertainers David and Rita Scott know how to give a guest a good time!
Our hosts-extraordinaire, once again, welcomed two groups of Freedom Alliance-selected service members to their lovely home on Lake Lanier, in Gainesville, Georgia.
The first group was made up of three veterans of the Marine Corps’ elite reconnaissance and sniper schools: Jackie, Konner, and Jordan. Samuel is an Army veteran, who lost an arm and a leg in Afghanistan, and a Georgia native who has attended several Gainesville Getaways.
These four servicemen couldn’t believe their luck. Not only were they given access to all the rest and recreation possible in three days, but David and Rita made sure they were given every comfort and refreshment available.
When asked why he was smiling so much, Konnor (who trained the Afghan police in marksmanship) said, “Have you ever seen anyone unhappy on a jet ski? No.”
In addition to hours of jet skiing, boating, tubing, and waterskiing at the house, Big Fish On local guide service once again donated a fishing charter out on the lake so the fellas could reel in to their hearts’ content.
Jackie later wrote in a note, “This was the most significant trip for me… I have never experienced such friendly and hospitable people…”
He said that the way the Scotts treated him and the other men “was paramount in moving forward from this point in our lives.”
Jordan, who was in Fallujah, Iraq, and the Battle of Sangin, Afghanistan, said that he thought about his vacation every day. He had trouble accepting that he deserved such special treatment.
“What I’ve come to decide,” he said, “is that you guys do what you do because you’re outstanding individuals and consummate patriots. You gave me the opportunity to connect with brothers from the Reconnaissance and Sniper communities that I’ve come to cherish.”
One month later, the Scotts did it all again. This time (like last year) we selected military couples to stay at the Scotts’. Six Marines came, and five brought their wives.
Lake Lanier local Tim Solyst volunteered to take the Marines fishing. He spent two days at it, just so we could get everyone some quality time with a rod and reel.
This was truly the best assortment of individuals to bring together, and there was so much laughter and cordiality in the house.
One of the funniest moments was when Jim, a wounded Explosive Ordinance Demolition (EOD) technician, jumped theatrically from the second-story dock into the lake with his crutches.
Rita’s son, Bjorn, was only able to recover one, but, oh, how everyone roared!
Another dramatic point occurred when David piloted the houseboat to a private cove so the couples could relax on the little beach there. On the way back to the house, with a detour to pick up Bjorn and his girlfriend, who were providing dinner, a fierce storm rolled over the lake.
With zero visibility, the boat rocking violently, and no way to see the dock where the new passengers waited, Captain David, cool as the lake water, navigated the boat and safely brought everyone home to a calmer, yet no less amusing, rest of the weekend.
And home is how anyone who has stayed with the Scotts would describe that beautiful lake house. Yes, it’s grand—appointed with every kind of entertainment and thing to eat—but it’s more than the things. It’s the soft hearts, the friendly embraces, the genuine smiles that warm that corner of Lake Lanier.
To Freedom Alliance and our guests, the Scotts’ house is home. And there’s no place like it.