A few fortunate veterans will get to celebrate Veterans Day this coming Wednesday, November 11, in the Hamptons.
In an effort to give back to those who have served the country, the owners of the White Fences Inn in Water Mill, Liz and Eric Brodar, will be offering free overnight lodging to three veterans.
The program, called Bed & Breakfasts for Vets, or B&Bs for Vets, is a national effort in which various inns across the United States, and even Canada, offer active and retired veterans lodging from Tuesday, November 10, through Wednesday, November 11.
“I want to give back to the people who have worked so hard to protect our country,” Ms. Brodar said. “It is the least we can do for recognition for all that they’ve done and for all of the things we haven’t done as a country to take care of them when they come home.”
Ms. Brodar decided to take her offer a little bit further and has partnered with the Red Bar restaurant, the Parrish Art Museum and the Wölffer Estate Vineyard to provide a full and complete Hamptons experience for the visiting veterans.
“They were just expecting to get the one night and that was it—I’m really excited about it,” Ms. Brodar said.
At the Parrish, the veterans will receive a complimentary guided tour and discounts at the museum’s gift shop; at Wölffer, they can participate in a complimentary wine tasting; and at the Red Bar, they will receive a $125 gift certificate.
“I was overwhelmed and I was very humbled,” said Jeffrey Coons, a retired 29-year Army veteran who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Rhode Island. “I thought just spending the night at the bed and breakfast was more than enough.”
Mr. Coons joined the Army in 1980 and worked his way up in the ranks to lieutenant colonel. He explained that he enjoyed serving his country, which is why he decided to make a career out of it.
Mr. Coons served in Hawaii, Wisconsin and Germany, but his most recent service was in 2005 in Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he served on the general staff and was stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad. That operation was meant to end Saddam Hussein’s regime and eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which the country was believed to have at the time, among other objectives.
“It was a rewarding career and I was happy to come back from the war in one piece and alive,” Mr. Coons said.
The other two veterans who are staying at the inn are Antonio Ugarte and Peter Stein, according to Ms. Brodar.
The B&Bs for Vets program was started in 2008 by Kathleen Panek, an innkeeper in West Virginia. This year, the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals has coordinated and promoted the program, along with the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and www.BBCanada.com.
“I really appreciate the B&Bs for Vets,” Mr. Coons said. “It is a wonderful gesture and it has been a privilege to serve my country—a privilege and honor to keep it strong and free.”