Christian Camp Offers Discount To Military Families

An East Texas camp is going above and beyond this summer.  Pine Cove Christian Camp, just outside Tyler, has always offered a discounted rate to those in the military.  But this summer, they're offering their camps for free to families with those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kileen resident Lisa Combs and her five children are one of 33 families that have taken advantage of the offer.  In January, her husband Jim was called to duty in Iraq, leaving Lisa to deal with things on her own.

Jim's duty as an army chaplain will keep him overseas until at least January.  In the meantime, Lisa must make things work here.  After hearing about the camp, she wasn't sure she could fit it into her schedule.

"I had heard about it back at the post and I thought it was great but I had other travel plans and thought I'd be too exhausted at the end of the summer to do this."

The Combs were able to fit the camp in this week.

Pine Cove President and Ceo, Mario Zandstra, said the idea for the free camp offer was simple.

"One of our staff was watching the news one night and they were watching families be reunited and they were thinking about the fact that families are actually separated when they go off to military and they thought we have these three family camps what a great way to minister to them."

Zandstra decided to waive the $1,500 dollar camp fee for families with members in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That means the week long stay, the food and the fun... is all free.

"It's been wonderful," said Combs. "I haven't had to prepare a meal, I won't have to prepare a meal for the rest of the week. That probably one of the best parts."

For the Combs family, it's a chance to have a little fun.  For the camp, it's a chance to show their support.

"These families have made a big sacrifice on our behalf as Americans and we just feel like it's an opportunity to pay them back and to show them that we care for them in a great way."

The camp still has room for some kids for their last summer session which is August 8th through the 11th.  They say they will provide the camps for free to families in the future.

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Chris Gibson, reporting