Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Hero House Gives Military Family a Marco Vacation

Natalie and Ava play in the sand. Photos by Samantha Husted

Natalie and Ava play in the sand. Photos by Samantha Husted

By Samantha Husted

When Marco Island resident Brandi Tramazzo created the Hero House Foundation for Recovering Warriors in 2015 she had just one goal in mind: to give back to the servicemen and women who have dedicated their lives to our country.

The organization aims to provide vacation homes for military personnel that have recently returned home from deployment. Brandi’s mission is founded on a simple premise, to give military members and their families, most of whom have been separated for months, a chance to relax and spend time together.

“You want to change the world?” said Brandi Tramazzo. “Then just donate and change a family’s week! That special week can mean so much.”

While the Brandi Tramazzo (BT) Hero House Foundation is still in its infancy, it has just hit its first major landmark. The foundation has welcomed its first family to Marco Island, the Leugers.

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Christian Leugers, his wife Emily, and their two daughters Natalie, 11 and Ava, 5, arrived on Marco Island on September 12th. Originally from Ohio, Christian is now stationed at the Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina. He returned home this past July after an 8-month deployment in Kuwait.

“I got

Photo by Samantha HustedTech Sgt. Christian Leugers with wife Emily and daughters Ava and Natalie.

Photo by Samantha HustedTech Sgt. Christian Leugers with wife Emily and daughters Ava and Natalie.

home in July and I found out two weeks ago that they selected me,” said Christian Leugers.

“It was totally unexpected,” added Emily Leugers “It’s very, very amazing that we were selected.”

The BT Hero House Foundation, through the help of sponsors and donations, has created a week chock full of fun activities for the family. The first thing on their list is a boat ride on the Calusa Spirit out of Marco Water Sports. The family also has plans to visit the Naples Zoo, get an airboat ride out of Corey Billie’s, and of course, relax on the beach.

When asked what he was most excited about doing Christian said he wanted to “go to the beach,” and “get some food,” with a laugh.

It seems that Marco Island has really come together to make this week special for the Leugers family. Girl Scout Troop 331 created two beach bags for Ava and Natalie, even including some exclusive, off season Thin Mint cookies. And the Boat House Motel has provided the entire weeks stay.

“The Boat House Motel has been tremendously generous, ” said Brandi Tramazzo. “It goes to show that the small businesses on Marco have big hearts. What the foundation

Brandi Tramazzo and husband Tom with the Leugers family.

Brandi Tramazzo and husband Tom with the Leugers family.

has put together for this military family, it’s huge. Together the foundation and the community has impacted lives.”

While this is a big first step for the organization, Brandi is looking to expand, stating that her ultimate goal is for the foundation to buy a “Hero House” condo on the beach. That way the foundation will be able to provide a vacation home for military personnel year-round.

“I want the best for our military families,” said Brandi Tramazzo. “Our thought is, they put their boots on the ground, let’s put their toes in the sand.”

Sponsors and contributors include the Boat House Motel, Jewelry by Laura at the Marriott, Centennial Bank, The Speakeasy, Marco Island Water Sports, Davinci’s, Marco Movies, Kirk’s Coney Island, Sweet Annie’s, Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides, Cold Stone Creamery, Girl Scout Troop 331, Marco Craft and Shell, Quinn’s at the Marriott AP Builders and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about the Brandi Tramazzo Hero House Foundation check out: www.btherohouse.org. Every time you donate you will receive a piece of Arm Armor Jewelry, made from shotgun shells. A fundraiser for the foundation is in the works for November 12th, the day after Veteran’s Day. Stay tuned for more information.

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