Captain Joseph House to host Memorial Day ceremony

Respite home provides space for Gold Star Families

Members of the Captain Joseph House Foundation gather in October to celebrate the gifting of a Gold Star Monument marker in front of the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the Captain Joseph House Foundation gather in October to celebrate the gifting of a Gold Star Monument marker in front of the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. (Courtesy photo)

PORT ANGELES — Captain Joseph House — a Port Angeles respite home dedicated to Gold Star Families — will hold a special ceremony honoring fallen soldiers at 4 p.m. Monday, followed by tours of the home.

“It’s a time to honor and pay our respects to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Betsy Reed Schultz, executive director of the Captain Joseph House Foundation.

Schultz said she’s held a Memorial Day ceremony in front of Captain Joseph House every year since 2013, when she started the foundation. The ceremony closes the street in front of the home and features a flag line by the American Legion Riders Post 29, guest speakers and bagpipes.

Captain Joseph House, located at 1108 S. Oak St. in Port Angeles, is the first respite house in the nation dedicated solely to serving Gold Star Families, immediate family members of U.S. military service members who have been killed in combat or in military training exercises.

The home was named after Schultz’s son, U.S. Army Capt. Joseph William Schultz, who was killed in Afghanistan on Memorial Day weekend in 2011.

Following the death of her son, Schultz converted her bed and breakfast into a home where Gold Star Families could come, stay and connect with other families that have experienced a similar loss.

Schultz funded the conversion solely through fundraising and donations, and although the foundation was started in 2013, it wasn’t until 2022 when the first families arrived.

The foundation pays for all expenses related to the trip, including airfare, and while the weeklong stay is meant to provide relief for the families, Schultz said it’s not a vacation.

“It’s not vacation, it’s work,” she said. “They’re bringing with them their broken hearts. They know they’ve come to spend time with other families and that those other people can most understand how they feel.”

So far, 15 families have come through the home, Schultz said, and activities are based on the season and that day’s weather. Activities include things like hikes, picnics and other outings, including visiting a horse ranch.

But most of all, Schultz said families are able to connect with one another over their loss.

“Moms talk and they ask questions of one another, like, ‘How do I deal with a daughter who just doesn’t want to talk about the loss?’ They talk with other family members who have gone through a similar experience,” Schultz said.

The home is also open to families who have lost a family member to suicide resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Those families have a special week when they visit Captain Joseph House, Schultz said.

“I feel terrible that’s how we’re all meeting; however, there’s a gift in that,” Schultz said. “I’m not alone. The families that come, they know they’re not alone, that there’s people who are walking the same journey.”

Schultz said many families who visit Captain Joseph House form deep connections and many stay in contact with one another after they leave.

The fastest (and slowest) way families learn about Captain Joseph House is through word of mouth, Schultz said, but the foundation also works with Survivor Outreach Services, a U.S. military program for family members of fallen service members.

Families still have to apply for the program, and paperwork needs to be provided in order to be accepted. Only families who have lost someone in the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible.

In October, Captain Joseph House was awarded a Gold Star Memorial marker, a special monument presented by the National Garden Club in support of Gold Star Families. Captain Joseph House’s monument was a gift from the Port Angeles Garden Club and the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs.

“Grieving doesn’t end, it just has a different tenor to it,” Schultz said. “It doesn’t stop just because it’s been years and years later. As the family has this loss, being a family together is a part of healing together.”

________

Reporter Peter Segall can be reached by email at peter.segall@peninsulanews.us.

More in News

Mystery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting

The state Department of Health has closed Mystery Bay… Continue reading

Three people were transported to hospitals for injuries on Monday after a collision on U.S. Highway 101 that involved two SUVs and a semi-truck. (Clallam County Fire District 3)
Three transported to hospitals after wreck east of Sequim

Three people were transported for non-life-threatening injuries after a collision… Continue reading

Victoria-based Team Malolo was poised to win the 2024 Race to Alaska on Monday. At midday, the team was 20 miles out from the finish line in Ketchikan, Alaska, while the second-place team was still about 70 miles behind. (Taylor Bayly/Northwest Maritime)
Team Malolo poised to win Race to Alaska

Trimaran had 70-mile lead over competitors

Peninsula College trustees approve budget, bargaining agreement

Full-time enrollment up 30 percent this spring over last year

Jefferson County adopts summer fire regulations

New rules automatically raise fire danger July through September

Port Townsend wins community sustainability award

PORT TOWNSEND - The city of Port Townsend won the 2024 award… Continue reading

Entities partner to provide Port Townsend visitor information

Port Townsend’s marketing workgroup and its lodging tax advisory… Continue reading

Print edition available today, e-edition only this Wednesday

Peninsula News has a print edition available to… Continue reading

Port Angeles High School graduates, from left, Uri Crawford, Samantha Combs and Jordan McTear, decorate a vehicle in preparation for Friday’s graduation parade from Ediz Hook to the high school. Dozens of adorned cars and trucks carried grads through the streets of Port Angeles as a lead-up to the graduation ceremony that evening at Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Congrats, grads!

Port Angeles High School graduates, from left, Uri Crawford, Samantha Combs and… Continue reading

Dash Air to leave Port Angeles

‘Nothing to do’ with viability of air service, owner says

Clallam County art barn to get new roof before fair

Commissioners approve $85,000 contract with company from Kent

Sequim schools drop proposal to bump back start time

Survey respondents prefer to keep Greywolf Elementary at 8:30 a.m.