Once beyond repair, final Camp Pendleton beach cottages give service members a place to heal

Posted at 12:11 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 15:11:59-04

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KGTV) — The last two cottages to grace San Onofre Beach and replace the deteriorated trailers near Camp Pendleton will be dedicated Thursday.

The Camp Pendleton Cottage Renovation Project has worked to replace 13 of the 30-year-old FEMA trailers at the beach with manufactured homes. The new cottages are build using metal roofs, composite siding, stainless-steel appliances, and furniture.

Cottages are also constructed to include wheelchair accessibility, railings, and wider hallways for service members with special needs.

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Service members from any branch of the armed forces can rent the cottages for short-term stays during the summer, based on service classification level for active duty members or retired personnel.

While the stay may be short, the trailers that once sat on the beach didn't provide much comfort and were "corroded beyond repair and without handicap accessibility."

San Diego Nice Guys, a non-profit that works to help underserved San Diegans, provided the funding for four of the 13 cottages at the beach.

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"The Nice Guys have been long-time supporters of the military and their families," Jeff Schreiber, Nice Guys president, said. "This project is another way to show that we recognize and appreciate those who have sacrificed so much for us."

Back in 2015 when two beach cottages were dedicated, Bob Clelland, chairman of the Camp Pendleton Cottage Renovation Project, said the newly installed homes are integral to local military life.

"It’s a place that allows you to clear your head and get away from the difficulties of life, some of which might be related to military service," said Clelland. "We’ve provided for those with physical disabilities handicap-friendly kitchens, toilets and passages.

"I think some of the wounds that our servicemembers are coming back with are those that you can’t see. A peaceful place like this can help heal those wounds."