SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Thanks to generous donations our local service members can now spend a night or two along the San Diego coast for a reasonable fee. Simply put these cottages are a big thank you to our past and present military men and women.
Cottages on the beach at Camp Pendleton are available for service members to rent for a fraction of the cost of similar accommodations along San Diego's coastline.
“Very few places can a Marine go today, at a reasonable cost to himself, enjoy a slice of old California on the beach and do world class surfing, now in beautiful accommodations with newly renovated beach club,” said USMC Brigadier General Edward Banta.
The San Onofre Beach Cottages have been around for nearly 60 years, but they were originally old FEMA trailers that were falling apart with weeds growing through the cracks, there were holes on the ground and the walls and termite damage.
So far, 11 cottages have been replaced, including two that were officially dedicated Friday to honor a couple of local war heroes - Colonel John Kelly who served in the Marine Corps from 1963 to 1991, and Colonel Jim Williams who served from 1942 to 1971.
“He was shot down in World War II. He flew fighter aircraft in Korea and fighter aircraft in Vietnam,” said USMC Sgt. Major Mark O'loughlin (Ret.).
Both men also volunteered their time to a group called the Nice Guys, which raised the money for these new cottages. The organization has been around for more than 35 years with one goal - to give a hand up, not a hand out to individuals and families in need.
The Nice Guys are a 100 percent volunteer group and they have no overhead. They are currently raising money to replace 13 more cottages.