Operation R & R expands to help more military families

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Over the past few years, hundreds of service men and women who served overseas have had the opportunity to reconnect with their families through a vacation on Hilton Head Island. It's all thanks to an organization started on the island in 2008 called Operation R & R. Through donated rental properties and support from local businesses, the organization is able to give the families a much needed vacation.

Its been a tough few years for Michelle Jordan and her children after losing her husband Jevon Jordan, who was stationed at Fort Stewart.

"This is when he was going to Iraq," said Michelle Jordan.

Jevon was killed by an IED in Iraq back in 2008.

"Its been really hard trying to adapt and give back and try to live life again," said Jordan.

But thanks to Operation R & R, Michelle and her two teenagers spent this past weekend vacationing together on Hilton Head Island.

"We went to the movies and we are supposed to be going to the fun center," said Michelle Baker Jordan, Michelle's daughter. "We walked on the beach, that was nice."

"We had a massage, that was really nice," said Jordan."

They say just a few days away from their home in Pooler has made such a difference.

"Just the peace and relaxation," said Jordan. " I love the fact that we just were able to relax. They provided us with a beautiful condo, really nice, right on the beach."

"It really meant a lot to me," said Zakees Baker, Jordan's son. "Not just for me but my whole family because I've seen that my mom has been stressed a lot with everything going on now that she's a single parent and Operation R & R really helped us out. We're really happy now and I see that my Mom has a lot of energy.

Besides having a great time on the island, the family says just knowing they have support means a lot.

"It shows me that people and organizations out there that actually really do care about the fallen soldiers, the fallen heroes and their families," said Jordan. "This is the nicest thing anyone has done for us. I really appreciate it."

Those behind Operation R & R say they are happy to help.

"They made the ultimate sacrifice so the least we could do is give them an opportunity to enjoy themselves at one of our affiliate locations free of charge," said Brian Gale, Operation R & R.

They say seeing smiles on these families faces makes their efforts worthwhile.

"It's especially fun to sit back and watch what we're doing is so important and helps," said Grant Evans, Operation R & R founder.

Operation R & R is planning to bring in two more families of fallen heroes to the island in March and are hoping to bring in more nation-wide by the fall.

But they say getting national funding is important to really expand this program and bring in more families.

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