Photos & words by John Streit.

At Surf & Adventure Co., we’re always stoked to serve those who serve us. Our latest opportunity to connect with soldiers who paid heavy sacrifices to ensure our freedoms came to us from the nonprofit organization Operation Cruise. This awesome initiative helps combat-wounded special operations warriors reconnect to their spouses through memory-making recreational activities. Being in the business of guiding outdoor adventures in the beautiful southeastern corner of Virginia Beach, we were thrilled that Operation Cruise chose us for several activities for their most recent Virginia Beach retreat for several special ops couples. We kicked off the two-day series of adventures with a Blue Pete’s kayak expedition from our shop to Pungo’s favorite eatery. The following morning, we sent the crew on a special, private False Cape Retreat to the undeveloped beaches of Virginia’s most remote state park for a day of surfing and standup paddleboarding with yoga and massage sessions provided by Natural Balance Spa & Yoga and lunch catered by Back Bay Gourmet! The couples brought an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy to the table, which was certainly contagious to all who took part in the activities. Being in the presence of these heroes was truly humbling, and we offer them our most sincere thanks for their sacrifices!

About Operation Cruise: Few people sacrifice as much for the sake of others as members of the United States military. Operation Cruise was formed as a way to give back to some of those who put so much on the line in defending the freedom we enjoy. Founded by Gary Markel, Operation Cruise provides weeklong retreat cruises for these special warriors and their spouses who are struggling with the challenges of very serious injuries or illnesses. These service members have pledged their lives for our safety and freedom. The realities of war often leave wounds that are life-long and affect not only the service member but also greatly impact his or her family. The pressures and stresses of these injuries can also cause tremendous strain on marriages. Our focus for Operation Cruise is to provide these amazing couples the opportunity to reconnect and strengthen their relationships during the cruise. Each cruise provides a counselor experiences with Special Operations who can work with each couple to identify the obstacles they may be facing and help them develop the new tools necessary to strengthen their marriage.

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