PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- Betsy Schultz always dreamed of opening an inn. It’s just in her nature to take care of people.
“I love to cook and wherever I lived, lots of folks would come and just stay,” she said.
Schultz lived her dream for nine years, operating a B&B in Port Angeles and sharing it with her son when he’d come visit.
“In fact, he did some cooking and housekeeping just to say he’d done a little bed and breakfast with his mom,” she said.
But then everything changed.
Her son, 36 year old Capt. Joseph Schultz, an Army Green Beret, died in Afghanistan after hitting an IED.
His mother’s heart was shattered.
“You want to just check out,” she said.
Now, Schultz wants people to check in.
She’s completely renovating her 104-year-old inn and renaming it The Capt. Joseph House. Schultz hopes it will soon be the nation’s only all-expense paid retreat for families of those killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“I want them to feel as though they’ve come through a portal where they literally have taken a step out of their day to day living,” said Schultz.
The 4,400 square foot home will house three families, up to 16 people at a time for a five-day respite. The goal is for all planning, food, air fare, transportation and activities to be taken care of by Schultz’s foundation.
”We have an opportunity to give them a chance to just rest and care for themselves,” she said.
But the all volunteer project still needs a lot of work and a lot of money. The walls are torn down to the studs and foundation work is being done. Schultz plans to add a sun room, elevator and walking path, but she has only been able to raise $160,000 of the $500,000 needed for the full remodel.
“The people here have been so generous,” she said. “It’s just a day by day process. You work when there is money and people to get it done.”
Schultz hoped to have the home open by Memorial Day weekend, the third anniversary of her son’s death. At this point, she’s hoping for the end of the year.
An auction is planned for April 5 at C’est Si Bon restaurant in Port Angeles. A team will run to raise money during the North Olympic Discovery Marathon on June 1 (www.runforjoe.com).
For now, the rooms at the old inn remain cold and empty, but Besty Schultz is confident they will one day be warmed with love and solace.
“Joseph loved it here,” she said. “This place is good for the heart.”
You can find more information at www.captainjosephhousefoundation.org.