CAMP PENDLETON — With four new cottages dedicated on April 15, a project to provide low-cost vacation rentals to active duty and retired military personnel is one-third complete.
The Pendleton Cottages Project is seeking to replace 30-year-old Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers that are corroded beyond repair with manufactured one- and two-bedroom homes built with a focus on the special needs of wounded warriors.
Each cottage costs approximately $90,000, including furnishings. They are built to last, using metal roofs, composite siding and railings and stainless steel appliances.
The San Diego Nice Guys Victory Fund acts as the not-for-profit fiscal agent for the project, with Hedges Construction as the sponsor, said Dino Richardson, general sales manager for Pendleton Marketing.
“We’ve been floored by the generosity,” Richardson said, noting that no donations are solicited.
Without the individual donors and the collective efforts of everyone working together we could not have moved this forward, said Brig. Gen. John Bullard, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The units, which are constructed offsite, are set on ground-level foundations so entry ramps are not needed. They are decorated to be “timeless and beachy” and feature flat-screen TVs, handicapped-equipped bathrooms and kitchens and ocean-view patios.
At the southern end of the cottage area is a sitting area with a fire pit.
Each unit can be dedicated with a plaque honoring the donor or the donor’s designee, such as an organization, company or family member who served in the military.
The four new cottages were dedicated to Navy Capt. Robert M. Hanson, Robert F. Sumoski, U.S. Air Force, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and all medical personnel who serve in the U.S. military.
The cottages are located at San Onofre Beach on Camp Pendleton and are available to all who serve, not just Marines. The first five were dedicated in June 2013.
“They have been very popular,” Bob Clelland, chairman of the Pendleton Cottages Project, said.
“They booked up immediately after we opened last year and have been reserved ever since,” John Preston, San Onofre Beach general manager, said. “The longest length of stay we allow is seven days, but on average our patrons stay one to three days.
“Our patrons come from all over the world,” he added. “Often the guests are wounded warriors.”
Costs vary based on the size of the unit and the rank of the servicemen and women, with discounted prices for handicapped service members. The range is between $85 and $140 per night during the summer.
“These cottages will help the men and women who come back from war understand that we support them,” Clelland said.
Cottages are replaced as funds become available. For more information or to donate, visit www.pendletoncottages.org.