My Vets are SEEING West Virginia

19 replies [Last post]
gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

With the way Veterans Day fell last year, I gave the weekend. It made me realize that one night, they come in, go to bed, have breakfast, and go home. I wanted them to see what we have and go home telling people about it.

After talking to my guests when they arrived last night, I discovered they had similar interests - so I changed a couple of my routings a bit and printed 2 copies. Freshly rested, both couples are off to see WV today. One is going to see the first Capitol of West Virginia, the building where it happened and then to see Oglebay Park and the Festival of Lights. The other couple, after visiting the shops in Shinnston, headed out for the winery/distillery, then to see the falls at Valley Falls State Park before going to see covered bridges. I sent both of them off with a WV Gazetteer in case they either get lost or decide to explore off the routing.

This morning I told them (one from Newport News and the other from NC) about the Love Shack (and its innkeeper) being a great place to visit.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Program gives free B&B rooms to vets Opelousas Daily World
Sonny Ray with the Country Ridge Bed and Breakfast said he started offering free rooms to veterans about eight years ago. “This was just our way of giving back ...

excerpt: (and Gillum is mentioned here as well)

Although the program has caught on throughout North America, Ray said it still remains largely unknown here it the state of its birth.

“There are only five (B&Bs) in Louisiana that are participating — no others in this area,” Ray said.

__________________

Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

It was a confusing time period but I vaguely remember him calling and asking about the program. Whatever - what matters is it is nationwide and actually International since Canada started Remembrance Day B & Bs For Vets.

muirford's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Had our first no-show for Vets - well, essentially a no-show; he called at 5:45 yesterday, 15 minutes before the end of the check-in window.  Said his wife was having emergency dental work the next morning.  I have my doubts about his story, but we did not charge the cancellation fee and didn't try to rebook the room with such late notice.  I wish we could have a list resident with PAII of the 'problem' guests, so that he won't pull the same thing next year at a different B&B. 

__________________

Jeanne

There are no rules, just follow your heart. ~ Robin Williams

 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

One no show. One last minute cancel. However, the rooms that did show up loved it. One vet said we should just charge them because it happens in a lot of situations. He went on a weeklong trip that was offered for free to disabled vets and of the 7 slots that were booked only 4 showed up. He said the owner there told him next time he will charge in advance and refund when they show up.

A weeklong camping trip involves a lot more planning and expense than what we did last night. I'd be peeved by that inconsideration as well.

__________________

Everyday, for good or ill, we intersect with some else's story and become a part of it.

 

muirford's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Madeleine wrote:

 He said the owner there told him next time he will charge in advance and refund when they show up.

I have thought about that.  You're right, the other four rooms here for it were very grateful and I don't want to dwell on the bad eggs. But I do feel that is a big part of what made innkeepers not do it again after the first year.  Especially the ones who were inundated with phone calls. We really haven't had that experience here, but if I had and then had a no-show, I'd be unhappy.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

muirford wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

 He said the owner there told him next time he will charge in advance and refund when they show up.

I have thought about that.  You're right, the other four rooms here for it were very grateful and I don't want to dwell on the bad eggs. But I do feel that is a big part of what made innkeepers not do it again after the first year.  Especially the ones who were inundated with phone calls. We really haven't had that experience here, but if I had and then had a no-show, I'd be unhappy.

I think we've had no shows every year. You know, the cancellation we got last week had multiple calls on it and not a single one would book when I told them they had to do it online and enter their cc. (We weren't home.)

Offline
Joined:
10/31/2009

We entertained 8 couples of vets and active military for two nights this weekend--mostly active military, and some recently back from deployment. One couple brought their two children, and one AF colonel brought her daughter (also in the AF) and her daughter's toddler son.

On Saturday night, the bar band I used to play in before we moved to the mountains played during our happy hour and after the simple supper we served.

Sunday morning at the end of breakfast, the band sang the Star Spangled Banner--both verses; not a dry eye in the house.

Sunday night was much quieter (the band had to return to Evergreen for their day jobs), and we sat around and had delightful conversation with several of the couples (didn't serve supper the second night) in front of the fireplace.

Quiet breakfast this morning. Everyone was checked out by the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and I took a nap.

We had only one return couple this year: a vet and his wife from Blackhawk who has his phone programmed to remind him to check to see our availability. When our offer went live in mid-September, we were full within 36 hours. Two last-minute cancellations were easily filled from our huge waiting list.

Everyone was appreciative; two couples went together and brought us a bouquet of flowers and an American flag Christmas ornament that is big, flashy, and heavy enough to tip over the tree. We plan to display it proudly. Another couple bought us a fifth of single-malt scotch.

I thought about sending out a press release, but had a bathroom to finish (this is our shoulder season before the winter high season), and time got away from me. I'll be more pro-active next year.

All in all, it was an excellent weekend. We made some new friends, and when people got too gushy in their thanks, we were quick to point out what an honor it was to serve them to thank them for their service.

Thank you, Kathleen, for starting this wonderful tradition.

Tom

gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

It was something I was meant to do or it would not have happened. But thank you.

For the first time, one of my Vets said yes to being in the Parade (the other one this year would have but they had an obligation at home today) and brought his dress uniform. HE was blown away when a man came up to the side of the vehicle as we crawled down the street and said to him, "Thank you for your service." While waiting for the Parade to start (we were in line-up mode) he was talking about how difficult it is to tell rank on Navy uniforms. I pointed out the Commander of our NJROTC and told him he was a Commander. He got out of the car and went over and saluted the Commander and the Master Chief and they chatted. He was thrilled to discover the Commander had graduated from Texas A & M in the town his family is from. 

It was totally touching to find a tip on the dresser from this young couple and the words written in the card the other couple gave us meant more than the gift inserted in the card. I am the one blessed.

And Tom, I am cashed also! I now get to put on my City Clerk hat in less than 3 hours! I WANT MY BLANKIE!!!

muirford's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

We have three rooms tonight -one local and two out-of-state- and two more tomorrow night.  I just upgraded the last check-in from the plague room to one of our nicest rooms, since it was open.  They've all been nice for us so far, and no repeats.  Most have never been to a B&B before.  Our little independent movie theater is having an open house tomorrow starting at 1, with a social hour and they're playing the Bob Hope Tribute to the Troops film at 2, free admission. 

muirford's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

muirford wrote:

 they're playing the Bob Hope Tribute to the Troops film at 2, free admission. 

Hey, is it new that I can't edit my post? 

Our last Vet check-ins just arrived and when I mentioned the Bob Hope movie, the guy said to me - "I met him several times when he toured Korea".! I am so excited to have one degree of separation to Bob Hope!

K, you know we always support the program, and we always make sure to tell our vets it started in WV.  I have to say that the last two years my vets have been more openly appreciative of the program, in person, in emails and in reviews.  I had way more problems with innkeepers than with the vets during that startup annus horribilus.

gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

I did roo. One innkeeper called me 5 times complaining about the calls he was getting!! Try to turn them into future reservations you idiot is what I wanted to say.

I am still finding military who have never heard of the program. Perhaps I need to work on getting the word out to the military better.  I also know of some cancellations this year due to having to "make up time lost because of the shutdown". Tried to get one of my weaiting lists to fill a room nearby cancelled for this reason and they could not take it either for the same reason.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

You can't edit once someone has replied to it. The old 'swiss cheese avoidance' mechanism.

gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

Thank you & your DH for helping get B & Bs For Vets off the ground.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Thnx Gillum. yes

I have seen bits and pieces Empty Nest. When I click on the link the first thing I see is "SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT" as I page down, and think,hm, and close it. I wonder how many others have done this. 

I look forward to hearing the stories of those who hosted vets. I SURELY HOPE with all my heart they are not the same folks anyone has had prior. 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

All different here. The guy who keeps coming back canceled.

We have a couple coming in tonight and they'll get an upgrade to the room that I still have open.

gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

I have had different Vets every year. I have over the years had several from WV but most have been from out of State.

Yesterday I gave both couples the routing printouts. One was going to go to Wheeling yesterday, but was looking at the wrong sheet when they left so both ended up going to the covered bridges. Today that couple played National Parks Mon opoly until the day warmed up a bit and are now hiking the rail-trail.

The other couple who had gone to the covered bridges via the winery/distillery and then Valley Fa lls State Park went to Wheeling today. She is planning to have him drop her off at Ogle bay Park and let him go to the casino. They are planning to do the lights.

We have been blessed with really nice couples. Oh the NC couple presented us with a bottle of wine when they arrived - and she liked out mugs so much that she bought one. She told me this moning that this was his first time at a B & B and he said he will go to B & Bs again. YEA!!!!

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I have not even heard or seen anything this year about the Vets program. Did P a i i do it?

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

EmptyNest wrote:

I have not even heard or seen anything this year about the Vets program. Did P a i i do it?

Yes, but I don't think there were as many inns as before. I still have rooms open. Can't get anyone to take them for love nor money. (We had cancellations this week.)

I posted it on a bunch of different FB pages and nothing.

OTOH, the folks who DO come will be getting free lunch and dinner, a gift sampler from G&S, a crafter just stopped by with some local-themed goodies to give them and a shopping coupon worth $25.

gillumhouse's picture
Online
Joined:
05/22/2008

EmptyNest wrote:

I have not even heard or seen anything this year about the Vets program. Did P a i i do it?

Yes, they did. They sent out press releases I guess but there has not been the publicity of the past. I was interviewed by a local paper about it. I think the stories about it will be all over the Media on Nov. 11 when they are looking for "feel good" stories.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.