Dr. Grant Evans, with his wife Mia, started Operation R&R in 2008. On a vacation trip from their home in Columbus Ohio, to Hilton Head Island they landed at the Savannah airport. The same day there were groups of soldiers saying good-bye to their families as they boarded planes for deployment.
Grant and Mia saw the strain on the faces of the families, especially the young children and were touched They felt that something needed to be done. From that day Operation Rest & Relaxation was born. The mission from the start was to bring Soldiers and their families to Hilton Head Island to be able to spend quality time together to reconnect after long deployments. And it had to happen at little or no cost to the Soldiers.
Grant and Mia reached out to local homeowners and asked if they would donate an off-season week for soldiers and their families to stay. They reached out to restaurants to ask for discounts on meals. They contacted grocery stores to ask for gift cards so the families could buy food during their stay. All said yes. They were able to put together these resources along with a group of dedicated volunteers to support the soldiers and families.
Today Operation R&R, is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to showing our appreciation for the U.S. SOLDIERS and FAMILIES who have been deployed to fight on our behalf. We are humbled by the GOLD STAR FAMILIES who have lost loved ones serving their country. In 2018 we are honored to work with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to include FIRST RESPONDERS and FAMILIES from 9/11. Men and women who are suffering from the injuries and effects of that fateful day.
Over 1500 Soldiers have already experienced the Operation R&R program. We offer:
* For the Soldiers, time to rest, relax and most importantly, reconnect with loved ones they haven’t seen because of a recent deployment.
* For the Gold Star Families, a place to gather together and talk about their lost loved one and begin to heal.
* For First Responders, a brief break from the hardships borne from the 9/11 related injures and illness.
Operation R&R relies on the generosity of individual donors and our corporate partners to help us.
Without this generous support we would not be able to continue to make a difference in the lives of our heroes and their families.
Dr. Grant and Mia Evans, married over 40 years, have now moved to Hilton Head full time to help grow the efforts and impact of Operation R&R.