Longtime supporters and friends of Freedom Alliance, David and Rita of Gainesville, Georgia, love to open their home and hearts to our military. They recently hosted the third in a series of lake-home vacations for injured service members such as Joe and Lance.
Joe and his girlfriend Caitlyn are both attending Georgia Military College. Caitlyn is in the Army ROTC program, and Joe is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne. When he deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, he lost his right leg above the knee during an explosion. Freedom Alliance became aware of Joe while he was recovering at Walter Reed.
Joe and Caitlyn eagerly accepted our invitation to stay with David and Rita at Lake Lanier as one last hurrah before school started.
Lance retired from the Marine Corps in 2011 with a 100-percent disability rating. He deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. While serving in Fallujah, he was exposed to multiple blasts, which took the lives of several of his buddies and resulted in a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder for Lance. We first met him in 2010 while he was part of the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune.
When he got the invitation to join us at the lake house, Lance exclaimed, “Wow, that sounds awesome, and I really need it!”
David and Rita welcomed our guests that first evening with their classic hospitality, a bountiful dinner, and a nighttime cruise on the water.
The next day was dedicated to water sports. David tethered inner tubes to the back of the boat and catapulted his guests around the lake for a thrilling and fast-paced ride. Then it was time to break out the jet skis. Lance, Joe, and Caitlyn sped through the cove, later requiring a nap, as the adrenaline left them exhausted!
That night was a surf -and-turf dinner of beef tenderloin, steamed shrimp, and Alaskan King Crab legs. Just the thing to restore a weary soldier after a full day of water play.
The next day was a repeat of the last, with the addition of sunbathing. Joe and Caitlyn had to leave after dinner to get ready for their classes, but Lance stayed on for another morning of fishing and one last turn on the jet skis.
“I cannot thank you enough,” Lance told David and Rita. “This amazing trip was exactly what I needed and couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.”
Once the vacation was spent, we sent Lance off to be with his wife at home, and we will keep them, as well as Joe and Caitlyn in our hearts and thoughts … till next time.