Ground breaking for lakeside "Cottage of Honor"

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Updated: 11/29/2012 9:07 am Published: 11/28/2012 8:38 pm

Military families who have made sacrifices for our country are being built a “Cottage of Honor” home along the banks of Skiatook Lake.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Folds of Honor Foundation developer, CrossTimbers, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with other local organizers teamed up to break ground for the first “Cottage of Honor” home. 

The Folds of Honor Foundation is dedicated to helping veteran families of those servicemen and women who are either disabled or deceased.  

Veteran Ronny Sweger was holding a shovel along with his wife and their six-year old triplet sons, the groups broke ground.  Sweger was in the United States Army for 14 years and served seven tours of duty.  He suffered many physical and mental injuries and was medically forced to retire.

“After his last deployment he seemed like such a different man,” said his wife, Claudia Sweger. 

They have been married for 17 years.  About a year ago, The Folds of Honor Foundation asked them to get involved with their non-profit work.  The foundation gave each of their triplets a $5,000 scholarship for college, which can only grow from the time they start their higher education.  

The foundation asked Ronny to speak as a scholarship advocate.  The organizers, like Major Dan Rooney, who founded Folds of Honor, needed recipients so Ronny stepped up and traveled to military installations to encourage families who have given everything they have to this country to allow them to be recognized and honored.  They gave out more than 1,000 scholarships last year alone. 

“We know it changes lives,” said Ronny Sweger.  “It changed ours; so we try and pass that good will on.  Pay it forward. Right?” 

“He has just healed in such a way that I didn’t know was possible,” said Claudia Sweger.  “For me to see my husband be himself again, it is a priceless gift.”

Within the last year, the foundation has been working with these groups to create the $95,000 cottage for veterans to come to for free and have access to free boating, and recreation across the lake area.  Chosen families can book time to use the cottage all year long.

“I know they will create legacy of memories out here for our military families; just the therapeutics, nature, recreations at Skiatook Lake are ideal for healing,” said Major Rooney.  “It will right new and positive memories in their lives, it’s selfishly very filling.”

“A project like this that allows warriors to use a cottage on a lake, it’s instrumental to healing,” said Ronny Sweger. 

The project is expected to be finished by Memorial Day. 

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