Betsy Reed Schultz, founder of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, points to newly-installed landscaping in front of the former Port Angeles bed and breakfast that is now being converted into a respite house for Gold Star families. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Betsy Reed Schultz, founder of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, points to newly-installed landscaping in front of the former Port Angeles bed and breakfast that is now being converted into a respite house for Gold Star families. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Captain Joseph House update: Completion of Gold Star family facility expected this year

PORT ANGELES — It’s all a matter of details and schedules.

Captain Joseph House, a facility for families of military members who have died in combat, is close to completion and occupancy, but it’s difficult to pin down exactly when the first visitors will arrive, project creator Betsy Reed Schultz said Thursday.

Schultz, 67, founder and executive director of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, said most of the pieces are there, but delays in receiving a $218,500 state grant have put completion behind schedule.

Although much of the renovation of the former bed and breakfast at 1108 S. Oak St. has been done by volunteers, parts of the project require licensed contractors and and funding delays forced many of them skip to other scheduled projects.

Betsy Reed Schultz, founder of the Captain Joseph Foundation, looks at photographs of her son, Capt. Joseph Schulz, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 29, 2011. The photos adorn a fireplace in the three-story respite house in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Betsy Reed Schultz, founder of the Captain Joseph Foundation, looks at photographs of her son, Capt. Joseph Schulz, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 29, 2011. The photos adorn a fireplace in the three-story respite house in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

“There is not a date, it could be one month, it could be two months until the house is finished,” Schultz said. “We have the money to finish the building part of the remodel. We don’t necessarily have the licensed contractors that are needed to complete certain portions.”

A state grant was budgeted by the state Legislature for fiscal year 2017, but lawmakers didn’t pass the budget until January 2018; money was disbursed five months later.

By then, many contractors who had reserved time to work on Captain Joseph House had moved on to other projects, leaving the retreat at the mercy of rescheduling, Schultz said.

“Everybody was lined up when we received the grant from the state on May 18,” Schultz said. “Our contractors who were holding space for us couldn’t wait any longer.”

Betsy Reed Schultz adjusts a quilt in a mock-up bedroom that will be used by Gold Star family members when the Captain Joseph House becomes operational. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Betsy Reed Schultz adjusts a quilt in a mock-up bedroom that will be used by Gold Star family members when the Captain Joseph House becomes operational. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The Captain Joseph House Foundation was formed seven years ago and several expected completion dates were eroded by volunteer availability, financial considerations and a need for more code upgrades than originally expected.

A tour of Captain Joseph House, Schultz’ former Tudor Inn, on Thursday revealed stacks of door and window trim waiting to be installed, plumbing fixtures sitting on floors, a fireplace waiting for propane lines and a residential elevator waiting to be erected.

Still, most of the structural work is done and much of the landscaping is in place. The heavy-duty tasks, including major plumbing, roofing, heating and electrical improvements, have been completed.

However, having the building done is only part of the story, Schultz said. She estimated that it would take about $400,000 to open the doors to the Gold Star families that are expected to visit. As much as half of that would go for airfare for the families with the remainder going toward staff training and daily operations.

Betsy Reed Schultz points to a partially-completed fireplace in the great room of the Captain Joseph House. The fireplace is waiting for a contractor to install a piece of pipe for a burner unit before stonework can be completed. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Betsy Reed Schultz points to a partially-completed fireplace in the great room of the Captain Joseph House. The fireplace is waiting for a contractor to install a piece of pipe for a burner unit before stonework can be completed. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

A gala auction Aug. 24 raised $74,000, but Schultz said fundraising would need to be an ongoing effort.

The Captain Joseph Foundation is the only nonprofit agency on the Olympic Peninsula with a national mission, she said, necessitating a broad outreach for ongoing funding.

When the program becomes operational, the house will accommodate as many as three Gold Star families at a time for a maximum of 16 people per week. Families who have had immediate family members killed in combat since Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible.

Schultz’s is one of those families. Her son, Army Special Operations Capt. Joseph Schultz, 36, was killed May 29, 2011, in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device while on patrol. The house and the foundation are named for him.

Despite the delays, Schultz remains undaunted and is confident that the project will be a success.

“It’ll be ready when it’s supposed to be ready,” Schultz said.

“It’s more done than what it looks like.”

________

Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at photos@peninsuladailynews.com.

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