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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
October 5, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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October 5, 2012

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m BY DENNIS KAISER The Avalon business commu- nity showed its heart last week- end when a handful of widows of AmeriCan military Servicemen who were killed in action visited Catalina. The women were guided on the inaugural Widows Retreat by the non-profit, volunteer supported or- ganization Honoring Our Fallen, which according to its founder, Laura Herzog, "serves the families of our nation's heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we have today." "We could not have made this event happen without a collab- orative effort of the Catalina busi- nesses that stepped up and made our group feel like royalty," Her- zog said. Dala Encias, a widow who had not been back to Catalina since celebrating her honeymoon on the Island, said she was very thank- ful to have an opportunity to meet Steve and Margarel, Bray at Steve's Steakhouse. The Brays donated a meal for the women as a farewell to their weekend. The restaurant was the last place Encias dined out with her husband. As the lunch concluded the widows all wrote messages to their husbands and put them in a bottle, which Bray personally cleaned at their table. "It was a very humbling experi- ence," Bray said. "We felt honored to be able to do that for the ladles?' Afterw~ird, each woman kissed the bottle, which they later released off the boat, outside Avalon Bay, on their way home. "It was a great experience," Herzog said. "Because of the gen- erous sponsors, we were able to bring together a group of women who may have not met, but now have an unbreakable bond." Sponsors of the event include Catalina Express, the Santa Cata- lina Island Company, Catalina Island Vacation Rentals, Touch Of Heaven, Coyote Joes, Original Jack's, Courtyard Coffee, Island Toys, and Catalina Confetti." There was a total of 10 women whose husbands were killed while serving their country. "I am so grateful to be a part o1' this retreat," Encias said. "It's just what I needed. It's been awhile since I have felt as comfortable as well as 'normal' among a group of such wonderful people. This retreat in a way has recharged me. te be able to go back to my life at home as a stronger person." Encias said that before the re- treat, she felt she could hardly car- ry on with her life after her tragic loss. "I felt like I was about to lose it, but because of this I got my san- it), back," she said. "I can't thank Honoring Our Fallen, Laura Her- zog, the women at the retreat, and the city of Avalon enough for this anaazing experience/' For more information about Honoring Our Fallen or to sponsor future events and programs, visit the website at: www.hon0ringour- Island's kindness atd magic A serviceman's widow kisses the bottle filled with heart-warming messages before it is tossed into the sea. At right, members of the Widow's Retreat take a long last look at Catalina Island. Courtesy photos On behalf oi' our entire pad- dling family that participated in this year's event, we wish to thank the citizens of Avalon for their kindness for sharing their Island magic with us. Everyone knows of the iconic structures and history of your Island that you call home. From the Casino, to the flying fish tours, the work of the Con- servancy and the Wrigley family's work t.hroughout the years to pre- serve it's magic What I would like to bring out is one of those iconic entity's not usually mentioned, that throughout a century has made Avalon what it is today. It's people, the ones who love the Island and all it's charm We of the Southern California Outrigger Association are totally indebted to your knowledgeable citizens of your Island home. From city manager, Steve Hoefs; harbor masters Brian and J J; da harbor boys; lifeguards; firemen; VFW ,Tom Campbell; Gabby, city per- sonnel; Drew Mauck, Avalon Art Association; Kids of AHS and Ken Putman. Our biggest supporter has been Ralph Morrow, who has been seeing to the Mayors Cup presenta- tion since its inception in 1980. If it were not for Jeane Barrett, local firefighter, who grew up life ............................ PRIMARY SPONSORS Catalina Freight Line VALO Blanny Haganah SECONDARY SPONSORS Luau Larry's Catalina Island Inn Hotel Metropole Hermosa Hotel SUPPORTERS VOLUNTEER STAFF Catalina Transportation Services. Jon Ross, Jodi Lewis, Steve Montague, Descanso Beach Ocean Sports Maggie Maki, $t.eve & Lynn Wooley, Arroyo Insurance Jack & Kathy Sweeney, Scott Dennis, Animal Hospital of Catalina Cindy Lazarus, Tom Waite, Val Shaffer, Glenmore Hotel Drew Mauck, Zella Lesieur, Roger . Catalina Island Marketing Meadow and all of our additional hard Catalina By Design working volunteers Eric's on the Pier Michael Fields Family S~ Organizer: Dan leckenoff (with a Jack Tucy Organization loving embrace for his wife Angela for Above All Aviation allowing him to indulge in his passions) Letters, Page 9 THE CATALINA ISLANDER October 5, 2012 i 7