Heroes Retreats

Marine Corporal Larry Draughn plays with his son and wife in Huntington Beach, California.

Strong family relationships are vital to a service member’s rehabilitation. That’s why Freedom Alliance provides retreats and vacations to military families who are suffering from the wounds of war. 

Deployments and war-related injuries strain family relationships which need our help to heal.

Why We Help

Studies show that military deployments increase the risk of divorce. The longer the deployment, the greater the risk.

Dangerous deployments to combat zones are more likely to sever a marital relationship.

The military divorce rate has climbed significantly during the War on Terror. It is also true that long and dangerous deployments adversely affect children in a military family.

Through this program, Freedom Alliance helps military couples repair and renew their marriages. We help fathers reunite with their children and build stronger bonds. We show our appreciation for the times that combat deployments separated husbands from their wives and children from their parents.

Families and couples have the opportunity to connect on a retreat specially tailored to their specific needs.  Example of some of the Retreats we have hosted include:

  • Waterfront Retreats in Huntington Beach, California
  • Getaways for Healing Heroes in Maui, Hawaii
  • Family Bonding in Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Couples Retreats in Gainesville, Georgia
  • Valentine’s Day Weekends in romantic locations
  • Family Retreats aboard cruises in the Caribbean
  • Couples Retreats in Sitka, Alaska
  • And, Retreats to Family-Friendly Destinations including Disneyland, Disney World, and Universal Studios

Military families have the opportunity to reunite, reengage, and become closer when Freedom Alliance and our generous partners join forces to offer Heroes Retreats!

How Freedom Alliance Impacts Military Families

Deane and Stacy Messex with their children at the beach during a Freedom Alliance Heroes Retreat

After the terrorist attacks of 9-11, Deane felt called to serve his country. He went to see a recruiter and enlisted in the Army Reserves. Before that he was working as a heating and air conditioning contractor. He was making a good living and providing for his family. But the attacks on American soil angered him, and he wanted to serve.

As a Reservist, Deane deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. While fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom, he fell from a Chinook helicopter and suffered injuries to his back and legs that left him physically disabled and confined to a hospital bed.

His injuries were obvious, and hard work was needed to rehabilitate his battered body. But Deane had other problems. His marriage was strained and being tested.

Deane is married to Stacy – a devoted wife and a wonderful mom to their children. Deane and Stacy love each other, but the wounds of war can threaten even the strongest relationships.

Freedom Alliance met Deane and Stacy while Deane was recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center. We helped with some expenses they incurred while in the hospital. Later, after Deane was cleared to travel, we sent them to the beach for a much-needed respite.

“The whole trip was amazing,” Stacy told us. She said they enjoyed their favorite activities and shared some overdue laughs. But the best part came later in the week.

One evening, we arranged for a baby-sitter so Deane and Stacy could spend time alone. It was the first time Stacy and her husband enjoyed a dinner together – just the two of them – in many years. After dinner, they went for a walk on the beach. They walked and talked. They were relaxed and uninterrupted and able to enjoy each other’s company.

Then they found a dock in a quiet spot. They sat down in the moonlight and continued their conversation. Stacy explained it this way:

“Magic happened out there that night. You have to understand that Deane had been through so much [during his deployments and injuries] and I didn’t understand it. But that night was picturesque – we just sat on the dock and talked. We reconnected.”

For the first time since he returned home, Deane told Stacy some of what he had experienced in war. They talked for hours under the stars. They confided in one another and confronted their fears. They recommitted themselves to each other.

By the time they headed home, their relationship was on a better path. Their love for one another was as strong as ever. Deane – a man of few words – explained it this way: “That trip saved my marriage!”

Freedom Alliance is helping our troops and veterans recover from their terrible wounds.

Your support will allow us to continue making a difference in the lives of our brave war fighters. Please donate today.

A military family reconnects during a retreat in Southern California. Here they are seen in front of the Disneyland Castle.
SSG Dan Burgess with his family during a Heroes Family Retreat in Alaska.
Military families are treated to a VIP tour of a Coast Guard Air Station during a Heroes Retreat.

Help Freedom Alliance Honor Military Service