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Patriot’s Day offers returning Soldiers a chance to enjoy community from asea

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More than 50 couples from 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord had the opportunity on June 25 to enjoy a complimentary meal, drinks and a sunset boat cruise from Tacoma to Gig Harbor.

"We cram 30 hours of training in a daily operational tempo, so the opportunity on a work night to receive food, spirits and entertainment is more than a blessing," said 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Officer Aubree Rundle.  "I think that a lot of these Soldiers appreciate that opportunity to be engaged." 

The special event was part of Patriot's Day, which is geared toward giving Servicemembers an opportunity to just relax and enjoy their community before or after a deployment.

"We just received a battalion-sized element, with roughly 500 Soldiers that recently returned from a 10-month rotation from Afghanistan," Rundle said.

"The sole purpose of these Patriot's Day events is to thank the military and their families for their service and sacrifice," said volunteer Patriot's Day organizer and founder, Ed Brook.

Brook is currently starting a one-stop hub for businesses to share their military discounts with Servicemembers -

"Patriots Day is absolutely free of charge to military families," he said. "This is entirely about just saying ‘thank you' to our troops."

The event started off with complimentary food, drinks and photos at the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma, then shifted over to the Tacoma Yacht Club.

Staff at the yacht club had asked its members if they were interested in supporting Patriot's Day and taking military couples out for a cruise of Commencement Bay and Gig Harbor.

"We immediately signed up as soon as we heard about this terrific opportunity," said local boat owner Eva Bennison. "Tacoma Yacht Club is a terrific component (proponent?) of cruises for military families."

More than 20 boat-owning members of the club volunteered their boats for the event.

"My husband and I are happy to support the military in every way we possibly can by hosting cruises to bring a bright light for a day for military families," Bennison said. 

"The opportunity for local business owners and boat club owners to reach out and touch Soldiers is always a good thing," Rundle said. "They contributed their time, money and attention to entertain Soldiers and their spouses."

After a scenic tour on the boats, the couples took one last photo and received complimentary roses to give to their significant others.

This wasn't the first Patriot's Day event, and it surely won't be the last.

Brook is planning at least two more of these events this year - one in Bremerton for Navy families and an overnight event in Gig Harbor.

If any military group is interested in experiencing Patriot's Day (which is designed primarily for couples), contact Brook directly at

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