An online vacation rental service is helping a Bay area veteran help others in need.
- Bay area veteran launches Circle of Veterans to help those in need
- Tice Ridley used Airbnb funds to start the nonprofit
- Ridley is an Army ver, served in Iraq & Afghanistan
When visitors rent at the Ridleys they get a sense of patriotism before they even walk through the door.
The owner, Tice Ridley, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Retiring was rough on him.
"I've had my own struggles with my own PTSD and my own issues. And I realized that once I was getting out of the Army, I felt like I was separated from the group," Ridley said.
That's when Ridley and his wife Samantha got the idea to launch Circle of Veterans in Dade City. The organization provides transitional housing and therapy to struggling veterans and their families.
"We have a lot of success stories, when I get those calls from people who are successful, it's a good feeling," Ridley said.
However, starting the Circle of Veterans wasn't cheap, so they used the money from their Airbnb rental to get their nonprofit off the ground.
"I put information in the Airbnb ad about the Circle of Veterans so they know where their money is going and how it helps," Samantha said.
Quite a few families have already rented the two bedroom condo to support the veteran's nonprofit.
"It's wonderful to have that support. It's really good they allow us to put the information on the website. I can't tell you how rare that is," she said.
The Ridleys said there have been challenges, like paying for animal care and therapies. Hurricane Irma also took a toll on the nonprofit, but they made it through, thanks to the rental.
The Circle of Veterans will hold a fundraiser Saturday at Commandoughs Pizza in Zephyrhills. All donations will help fight veteran homelessness and provide Hurricane Irma relief.