CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The San Diego Nice Guys and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton held a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of two beach cottages at San Onofre Beach, April 17.
The cottages were dedicated in honor of Col. James Williams, an accomplished Marine pilot who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and Col. Jack Kelley who had a highly decorated career as a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam and was the commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.
Both officers were members of the San Diego Nice Guys, a volunteer non-profit organization that receives donations that provides aid to local individuals and families in need.
The Camp Pendleton Cottage Renovation Project began in 2009 after construction firm Hedges Construction was contacted by a couple who wanted to support Camp Pendleton by replacing the deteriorating cottages at San Onofre Beach.
The new cottages are fully furnished, have a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a front porch overlooking the beachfront.
“It’s all about the Marines,” said Brig. Gen. Edward D. Banta, Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Installations – West. “We ask an awful lot of them and providing a world-class recreational opportunity like this is just one of the ways we can make sure they’re taken care of.”
Hedges Construction and the San Diego Nice Guys are still continuing their efforts to replacing the remaining twenty-one cottages at the beach.
The Camp Pendleton Cottage Renovation Project puts emphasis on providing accessibility and quality-of-life comforts to veterans with disabilities.
“It’s a place that allows you to clear your head and get away from the difficulties of life, some of which might be related to military service,” said Bob Clelland, chairman of the Camp Pendleton Cottage Renovation Project. “We’ve provided for those with physical disabilities handicap-friendly kitchens, toilets and passages.”
“I think some of the wounds that our servicemembers are coming back with are those that you can’t see,” added Clelland. “A peaceful place like this can help heal those wounds.”