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B&Bs for Vets – Our Industry’s Way of Saying ‘Thank You’

B&Bs for Vets

Gillum House B&B Veterans Day 2014

This past weekend Rick and I went to a Peter and Paul concert. They are still on tour, unfortunately without Mary, but still sounding strong and with the same strong message delivered in their songs. When it came time to sing ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’, written by John Denver in 1966 which later became a hit by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1969, Peter gave a little background story which I was unaware of. He said that the song came to be associated with soldiers leaving for Vietnam. Think about this when you read the beginning lyrics.

All my bags are packed I’m ready to go

I’m standin’ here outside your door

I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

But the dawn is breakin’ It’s early morn

The taxi’s waitin’ He’s blowin’ his horn

Already I’m so lonesome I could die

Leaving on a jet plane

Makes you think about the song a bit differently. This made me recall a story Kathleen Panek told me about her first veteran guests she welcomed to her Inn, the Gillum House B&B. She and some of her fellow West Virginian B&Bs started the grass roots B&B’s for Vets program over five years ago. From Kathleen:

“Early on in the B&Bs for Vets program (before it went viral), as I was showing my Vet and his wife the room, I told her what this program was all about – to me. I told her that this was a way to not only say thank you to our Military and Veterans, but to thank the unsung heroes, the person no one ever thinks of to thank you to – HER.”

She went on to say:

”This is my way of saying thank you to YOU. The spouse/partner is the one who takes care of everything while their soldier is on TDY or deployment. YOU are the one taking care of kids, house, bills, school, sports, the animals, taking out the garbage and everything else and the whole time, keeping a smile on your face so your soldier does not worry about anything other than staying alive and coming home. And when it comes time to move to the next assignment, YOU are the one who packs up, stops utilities, starts them in the next place, gets the kids registered in school, and deals with the kids up-rooting issues. So this is for you as much as it is for him.”

“When I finished, my Vet had tears in his eyes and was thanking me for telling her that. He said he had been telling her how much he appreciated all she had done and it was so good to have someone else tell her.”

Now the time has come to leave you

One more time Let me kiss you

Then close your eyes I’ll be on my way

Dream about the days to come

When I won’t have to leave alone

About the times, I won’t have to say

Oh, kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

Hold me like you’ll never let me go

‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again

Oh babe, I hate to go

The B&B’s for Vets program is our industry’s way of saying, “thank you for your service.” But also a way of saying, “thank you BOTH for your sacrifice as a couple and a family”. Innkeepers have so much to offer and what a great opportunity to give something back.

Hope you have signed up and joined your peer innkeepers.  And for all the innkeepers who have been giving over the past years, I would love to have you share some of your stories on B&Bs for Vets Facebook.
Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

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4 Responses to “B&Bs for Vets – Our Industry’s Way of Saying ‘Thank You’”

  1. María says:

    I’m a Veteran myself and my husband has been serving in the Air Force for 17yrs now! And I just found our about B & B for Vets :/ I just called one of the B & B and they said that the we’re booked already, fine 🙁 I ask her how does everything works because we were new to this, She said she just found out about it today? And that she has no info for me on how to apply, qualifications, etc…hmm? I’m just going to stop my search, I felt lost…

    • Janet Wolf says:

      Dear Maria,
      Sorry you could not find a B&B that still had rooms available. The website and Facebook page for the B&Bs for Vets program will stay live throughout the year. So hopefully you can book earlier next year. It is still a growing program which we are working hard to expand. Keep checking the website regularly, inns are signing up daily. Links are in the blog posting. Thank you for your comment. Feedback like yours helps us to improve the program. Thank you and your husband for your service.

  2. Brought tears to my eyes. Great blog post about a great project.

  3. Mike McGrath says:

    Great article Jan and a wonderful way to honor the vets and families
    Best Regards

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