Skiatook Marina Offers Free Lakeside Cottage Retreat For Veterans
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - A Green Country marina broke ground Wednesday on a new cottage, specifically built with military men and women and their families in mind.
It will be a place for them to go, for free, to relax and get away from their worries.
The CrossTimbers development on Skiatook Lake has beautiful cabins with impressive views of the water.
Soon, there will be one more built on the final lot that's extra special.
"It's a small thing, versus what they've done, but it is a wonderful feeling," said Ron Howell, of the CrossTimbers Marina.
An honor cottage will be built on the site, and will be specifically dedicated for wounded military men and women and their families, who will get to stay for free.
"This is gorgeous. I'd love to be here, of course," said veteran Ronny Sweger.
After 14 years in the Army and multiple deployments, a forced medical retirement returned Sweger to civilian life.
"I got injured a few times downrange, thought I was doing fine until I got back range and tried to figure out what the new normal was," Sweger said.
It's wounded veterans like Sweger that the cabin will benefit.
Ed Pulido lost his leg and suffered a traumatic brain injury in an IED explosion in Iraq.
"Had to be in the hospital for 180 days—40 days in ICU. Went from 195 to 118 pounds," said Pulido.
Studies have shown recreation helps alleviate stress of losing a loved one or dealing with a traumatic injury.
The honor cottage will help.
"I know the outdoors can reach many of these warriors and can heal them," Sweger said.
"To be out here in the tranquility, nature, to be outside, outdoors—it's very good for recovery," Pulido said.
CrossTimbers is working alongside the Folds of Honor foundation, which will coordinate the use of the cottage.
It all happened with volunteers stepping up to provide a place for relaxation, but also, to show appreciation.
"We're working with big marina players across the country, who are now going to be building these cottages with private funds, throughout the United States, all through Folds of Honor," Howell said.
Construction on the 1,100 sq. ft. Honor Cabin should be finished and ready for veterans by Memorial Day.