An open house to show a respite house for U.S. military families that lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan is planned for Sunday and Monday, March 20 and 21, in Port Angeles.
Captain Joseph House honors the death of Captain Joseph Schultz who died in Afghanistan.
“This open house will show the community our commitment to finish the mission,” said Betsy Reed Schultz, mother of Captain Joseph who created the foundation.
Ceremonies will start at 2 p.m. Speakers include U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, two of Joseph’s team who survived the attack, and the former president of the Washington State American Gold Star Mothers.
That nonprofit organization had its origins during World War I when families of those who died in the war hung a gold star in their window.
House tours (masks required) will begin at 3 p.m. and last until about 6 p.m. South Oak Street, in front of the house, will be closed with a large tent, and neighborhood parking will be limited. A shuttle from the county courthouse parking lot at Fourth and Peabody is available only on Sunday and will be available beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tours will continue 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.
After her son died in 2011, Schultz created a non-profit foundation to upgrade her bed-and-breakfast for the nation’s only family-to-family program to honor the Gold Star Families of the Fallen. More than 31,000 volunteer hours and $556,248 has gone into the remodel, which will accommodate three families (as many as 16 individuals). Staff and families will prepare meals together.
“When will we be ready to accept families? Because Covid regulations are constantly changing around the country, I can’t predict when- it’s a moving target,” said Schultz.
On Memorial Day 2011, two military officers informed Schultz of her son’s death. Now 71, “The loss is forever,” she said. “Joseph is always missed and can never be replaced. The other Gold Star Families of the Fallen are still hurting as well and we want to welcome these families here.”
“To sacrifice one’s life in service to, and protection of, their country should be honored and remembered, although there is great sorrow to go with it,” said John Kent, commander of American Legion Post 29 and VFW Post 1024, both in Port Angeles. “This house and its program is a means for families who have suffered this fate to be able to come together and share stories about their loved ones and to help with their healing process.”
“Betsy Schultz has dedicated herself to make Captain Joseph House a model of how to honor the families of those heroes that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms/’ said Gary Velie, vice president of Clallam County Veterans Association. They will come to our community and witness the love, honor and respect that we show our veterans. This open house is your chance to see and walk through this wonderful addition to our community and comprehend the wonderful gift that each Gold Star Families of the Fallen will enjoy by their visit.”I have volunteered for over eight years,” said Rod Lee, commander of Carlsborg VFW Post 6787, a member of the American Legion and Fleet Reserve.
“The house, the project and the families that will benefit mean a lot to me and the veteran community. I really hope the community comes out to see the work we’ve done.”
A donation value of $800 will cover one individual’s visit; $12,000 will pay for the three families. To donate and RSVP to the open house, go to www.CaptainJosephHouseFoundation.org For more information, visit [email protected] To contact Schultz, call 360-460-7848.