DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — A group of Marine Reconnaissance men and their families took a week away from the burdens of life to enjoy the Gulf Coast. Non-Profit Marine Reconnaissance Foundation hosted the group of rambunctious Veterans.

MRF President Jose ‘Pep’ Tablada III said the week is about healing and letting families reconnect.

“This kind of program is necessary,” said Pep. “It is meaningful to them as individuals, as teammates from the Recon community, and with their family members. Some of these Marines have missed most of their children’s lives and they get to come here for a week and really spend time with their wives and their children.”

Those attending the MRF retreat are wounded warriors, suffering physical and mental traumas from their time in the service. Double amputee and third-time retreat attendee James Edward Wright, ‘Eddie’ spoke about his week enjoying the Florida beaches.

“Honestly, it’s been really nice,” said Eddie. “It has been amazing for me to bring all my girls, my wife and my two daughters down and to come and hang out with me. Us, we’re not the easiest husbands or dads or whoever to live with. But man, let me tell you something, we are the most loving, and we will do whatever it takes to take care of each other.”

Eddie Wright served with Marine Recon in Fallujah, Iraq until he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004.

The trip to Destin was a first for MRF staying at a beautiful home in Crystal Beach. In years past the group spends a week in Montana. Pep said the community stepped up to provide for the group in ways they have never seen before.

“Interacting with the local population in Destin, Fort Walton, they’ve been incredible,” said Pep. “Very, very hospitable supportive local businesses, professional organizations, frankly just jumping out to see how they can help.”

The group spent days out on the beach, went out to Crab Island on pontoon boats given by Crab Island Jimmy’s Charters, and went parasailing with Gilligan’s watersports.

“Our history dates back to the 1940s. We are very small in the elite community of special operators, Marine and Navy. And we’re kind of quiet professionals. So most Americans don’t know what force Recon is. They don’t know what Recon Marines or sailors are,” said Pep.

Gold-star family members also attended the retreat. Gold-star families are known for losing a loved one killed in action while serving the U.S. Military.

Learn more about the MRF mission and ways to help the organization online.