By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“He did not want to be forgotten,” she told the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce at its regular luncheon meeting at SunLand Golf & Country Club on Tuesday.
“He was willing to go” to serve his country, she said.
“He was willing to die.”
Schultz's son, Capt. Joseph William Schultz, a decorated Green Beret, was killed in action May 29, 2011, along with two members of his Army special forces team while leading a mission in the Wardak province of Afghanistan.
In his memory, Betsy Schultz is working to create the Captain Joseph House.
Her goal is to renovate her former bed-and-breakfast Tudor Inn, 1108 S. Oak St. in Port Angeles, into a place where families of the more than 6,600 U.S. soldiers killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001, can gather for a week of peace to experience the North Olympic Peninsula's natural treasures.
While such places exist for wounded warriors, Schultz said, the Captain Joseph House would be the only place in the country dedicated to the relatives of soldiers killed in action.
“There's no home in the country that serves the families of the fallen,” she said.
Her goal is to open in 2014.
To make her home suitable for those families is no small task.
The house needs an elevator, ramps and paved walkways to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said.
To do so, she needs $495,000, which she is seeking entirely through donations.
Schultz recently received nonprofit status for the Captain Joseph House Foundation and has formed a board of directors from interested parties all across the nation.
Once opened, the house will be there for families flown in from across the nation.
Schultz said the cost of providing the travel, lodging and food for a family of four figures to be about $5,000.
She expects to house three families a week for 11 months out of the year.
Joe Borden, a chamber board member and veteran of Vietnam, serves as a director for the Captain Joseph House Foundation.
He said the Green Berets have offered to pay transportation costs for families of fallen Green Beret soldiers. Several other similar military organizations have pledged the same, he said.
“We care about what happens to our veterans,” he said. “We care about what happens to our families.”
Schultz has architectural renderings of the house and the grounds drawn up by Charles Smith of Port Angeles-based Lindberg & Smith Architects and Gentry Architecture Collaborative.
Howie Ruddell of Ruddell Auto Mall in Port Angeles has donated three vans to transport the families, Schultz said.
“That's a tremendous donation, but it's also a tremendous show of support from a business in our community,” Schultz said.
A number of fundraisers are planned for the coming year, starting with a dinner/auction April 6 at the Queen of Angels Catholic School in Port Angeles, where attendees will have the opportunity to swing a hammer and help with demolition efforts.
More events are planned through the rest of the year, including a pickleball marathon at the Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles in April and a marathon/fun run in June.
For more information or to donate to the Captain Joseph House, visit its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaptainJosephHouse.
Donations also can be mailed to the Captain Joseph Foundation at 1108 S. Oak St., Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.