LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Purple Heart recipient 1st Lt. Brian Donarski's Family was the first of many beneficiaries of "Raytheon's 100 Nights for Wounded Warriors" at the Shades of Green.
Donarski, who was wounded during a combat mission in Iraq, was selected to represent the Army in the Pro-Am portion of the Children's Miracle Network Classic PGA Tour event on Walt Disney World Resort's Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses.
Thank to Raytheon's gift, the entire Donarski family - and a few friends - got to attend the dream-come-true event. They even got to stay with Donarski in the same handicap-accessible hotel suite - the Warrior Suite - which comfortably sleeps 14 and overlooks the golf course, not far from the gates of the Magic Kingdom.
"The suite is like a home away from home," Shades of Green Director of Sales and Marketing Kimberly LaTendresse said. "where folks can enjoy family time in the living room playing games or watching the flat screen TV. At Shades of Green, we have so many different activities- like the spa, pools and Family activities like the Kids Cookie Night and dive-in movies- Families can stay right here on the resort and have a great vacation."
Dozens of Families of Wounded Warriors will receive a complementary stay at the Shades of Green, an Armed Forces Recreation Center operated by the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. Raytheon has paid in advance for 100 nights to be donated to Families of Wounded Warriors over the next year.
"The intended purpose of our donation is to show our support to active duty military, Families, retirees and Department of Defense civilians," Raytheon Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications Pam Wickham wrote in a letter to Shades of Green General Manager Brian Japak. "Their willingness to sacrifice to build a better future for others and to preserve our way of life can never be repaid; however it is our hope this small gesture will show our deepest appreciation for all they do to support and protect our country."
Shades of Green officials worked with the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa to select Wounded Warriors to stay in the suite.
"We coordinated with the social-work case managers from the hospital's poly-trauma unit who are working with the Families going through treatment to put the offer out there," LaTendresse said in reference to the selection process for Raytheon's 100 free nights. "The Families then contacted us directly, to coordinate their stay with us."
Shades of Green bases room rates on a sliding scale according to the sponsoring guest's rank, making it an affordable way to enjoy a Disney vacation. Discount tickets to all nearby theme parks are also available in the resort lobby through the MWR Information, Tour and Travel office.
For information about reserving the Wounded Warrior suite and eligibility requirements, visit www.shadesofgreen.org.