Memorial Day ceremony held at Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles focuses on fallen, families
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Members of American Legion Post 29 form a flag line at the Memorial Day ceremony Sunday afternoon at Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles.
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
A member of the Marine Corps League Mount Olympus Detachment 897 salutes after posting the flag during the Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. More than 50 people attended the ceremony and toured the house during the ceremony to recognize those who have fallen while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A somber yet hopeful note was sounded at Sunday's Memorial Day service at Captain Joseph House, as more than 50 people gathered to honor those who have fallen in service in the U.S. armed forces and their families.

Veteran and active duty families were also honored by Joe Borden, vice president of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, who recognized families of military members and veterans who stayed home to wait to hear from loved ones.

“You have lived through difficult times. It takes a heavy toll on families. We want to thank you for what you have done,” Borden said.

However, many of those loved ones did not return, including Capt. Joseph Shultz, son of Captain Joseph House founder Betsy Reed Schultz, he said.

Capt. Schultz was killed in action May 29, 2011 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.

He was a Green Beret and was killed when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb during that year's Memorial Day weekend.

“It is a fitting date that we meet today, the day before Memorial Day,” said Lt. Mark Haines, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot who also served as a medical evacuation pilot for the Army in Iraq.

“Betsy was here in this house when she heard the knock on the door,” he said.

Haines said each person grieves differently, and Betsy's grief led to the Captain Joseph House.

Schultz ran the Tudor Inn Bed and Breakfast at 1108 South Oak St. from 2001 through 2010, when the large 1910 Tudor-style craftsman house was closed as an inn and became the family home.

After Capt. Schultz's death, she decided to dedicate her home to helping other military families who have lost loved ones, and for the past three years has worked to convert it into a getaway for grieving families of fallen service members.

Remodeling the home began in June 2013, and it is hoped the volunteer-led project will be finished by late 2016, Borden said.

Availability of the right volunteers at the right time and the permitting process have slowed the process, he said.

On Sunday, the house was a patchwork of freshly completed improvements and raw, 105-year-old timbers.

The interior walls have been almost completely replaced, and the yard is being improved to allow families to be as comfortable outside as they will be inside.

When finished, the house will feature three handicapped-accessible family suites each with its own bathroom, sun porches, a sun room, a children's play room, living areas and a large garden with a gazebo.

On a typical day, two angled poles on the front porch display the American flag and the Gold Star flag, a symbol awarded to immediate family members of fallen servicemen.

The flag has given name to Gold Star Families — parents, siblings, children and spouses of servicemen and servicewomen who died while on active duty during wartime in the military.

Schultz has said she envisions the house as a place of healing and relaxation for families of fallen military men and women.

The organization Families of our Fallen will fund family transportation, housing and food provided by the Captain Joseph House Foundation during their respite.

The House will be open 11 months of the year, with up to three families visiting at a time for one-week stays, including day trips to local attractions.

For more information on the Captain Joseph House, phone Schultz at 360-460-7848 or visit www.facebook.com/CaptainJosephHouse.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 25. 2015 3:43PM
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