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Veteran couples enjoy weekend retreat in Rosemary Beach

News Herald - 1/9/2018

Jan. 09--ROSEMARY BEACH -- This weekend in Rosemary Beach was a chance for Belinda Washington to unwind.

She and her husband Dedric Washington, an Army veteran, arrived at the Rosemary Beach Inn on Thursday after driving several hours from Alabama. They and four other veteran couples planned to stay until Monday while on a smaller version of the Warrior Beach Retreat, which typically hosts getaways for veterans and their spouses in the spring and fall in Panama City Beach as a show of gratitude and chance to heal.

Washington called the trip "amazing" since they got to meet other veteran couples and her husband came out his usual shell to bond with the guys. Talking to couples they could relate to was refreshing and gave her hope, she said.

"We're sharing stories, and the stories are alike," Washington said. "We're bonding. We're having a quality time."

Her husband agreed and said "besides the weather" the getaway was a blast.

"It's been a pleasure," Dedric Washington said. "We're hearing each other's stories. It's refreshing to run across a fellow veteran. You don't feel so lonely."

He served as a military police officer from 1999 to 2010 and praised Retreat founder and President Linda Cope and her family, who run the trips, as great people who he hoped prosper.

Cope said she is grateful that the Inn and restaurants donated rooms and food for the veterans. Several other veteran couples went on a similarly intimate retreat in Miramar Beach in December.

"It helps strengthen their marriages," Cope said. "People on this retreat have already been on a major retreat."

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(c)2018 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)

Visit The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) at www.newsherald.com

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