Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast

Bnb's for Vets logo with two photos of American servicemen

Sometimes Vets Stay for Free in our B & B!

We are pleased to participate in the BnB’s for Vets program again this year!

BnB’s for Vets was started by Kathleen Panek, a West Virginia innkeeper, in 2008. It is currently sponsored by the Association of Lodging Professionals (ALP). We have participated by offering complimentary room nights for many years. I do it in honor of my Uncle Jack (the pilot trainer), some of my classmates, and others I haven’t met.

BnB's for Vets bannerDuring the past 13 years, B&Bs, inns and unique lodging properties have donated thousands of complimentary room nights, offering veterans and active duty service men and women free lodging for one night on or around Veteran’s Day. The program is our way of thanking our veterans and active military who are serving our country. This year I am supporting ALP by working with innkeepers to enter their information on the BnB’s for Vets website.

I signed up for the BnB’s for Vets program soon after we opened Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. Although only required to offer one suite for one night, I originally signed up to offer both suites. Once the suites filled, I could not figure out how to sign off, and I would not tell anyone “No.” So… we gave eight room nights that year! The next year I thought, “Well… it worked last year…“ So, I blocked off eight room nights the week of Veterans Day!

We have continued to offer complimentary room nights, even during the pandemic. Each stay includes a full breakfast and bedtime snacks. Over time, my friends and community partners have stepped up to support the BnB’s for Vets program in Jacksonville. Together, we honor our guests, sharing genuine Midwestern hospitality with several veterans and active troops each year.

Male innkeeper poses with a male Navy veteranMany of us have fond memories of Jerry, a Navy veteran from Taylorville. Jerry spent a good bit of his time following me around saying “Ma’am, I just don’t know how to thank you.“

You see, Jerry was a Vietnam veteran, and he wasn’t used to being honored for his service. What a thrill it was to be at the airport a couple of years later to cheer when he came off the Honor Flight! Jerry is very dear to us, one of only a couple who have been invited to participate more than once.

Because program resources are limited, our BnB’s for Vets guests come from Illinois and from other states. One servicewoman and her husband drove through a snowstorm to get here from another state. (That earned them a second free night!) Please take a look at the comments below to see why our BnB’s for Vets guests feel our gift is so important in their lives. For me, her note is a great motivation for supporting the program each year!
handwritten note page 1 from a veteran guest handwritten note page 2 from a veteran guest

Right this minute, I have two complimentary room nights left, which will be offered on Facebook as this blog is posted. Once they fill, I’ll show that we are full on the BnB’s for Vets website, and continue making plans to host this year‘s guests.

The BnB’s for Vets program is something that I am fully invested in as an innkeeper. Although the pandemic really restricted our revenue, it also restricted the ability for our veterans and servicemen and women to get away. We are happy to participate again this year, and we offer a discount year round for our veterans, servicemen and women, and first responders.

I believe It’s the least we can do.

Blue two-story Victorian home with bunting and American flagBlessings on State Bed & Breakfast is an award-winning all-suite inn located in Jacksonville, Illinois. Hospitality is our hallmark. We offer many amenities, including overnight accommodations in a 130-year-old vintage mansion, Wi-Fi, expansive lawn and gardens, all-season fireplaces, and multi-course breakfasts. Come see us! Our reviews reflect that guest satisfaction is a high priority.

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