Dream Vacation Spot for Autistic Kids & Families Is Dad’s Way of ‘Giving Back’

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emerald coast floridaIt's not too often that we get to hear a story like this one -- a story about somebody amazing doing something amazing for a bunch of other people who deserve something amazing. But Luis Navas, executive at an international consulting company and dad to 6-year-old autistic son Lucas, is somebody amazing. Of course, he just calls himself "blessed." Oh, but Navas doesn't consider himself blessed because he's a wealthy and successful businessman, as you might guess -- he's blessed, he says, because after years of therapy, Lucas has finally developed some verbal capacity. In particular, Lucas can speak the phrases "Love you, Mommy" and "Love you, Daddy."

“I’m good with that for now since I have met parents who, unfortunately, have never heard those words from their autistic children,” says Navas. Awww! Oh, but we don't consider Navas amazing just because he's a good dad ...

He's amazing, we say, because he's so aware of his good fortune and thankful for it that he came up with an amazing way to "give back," as he puts it, to families less fortunate than his own.

Navas and his wife Mary raised $2 million to buy a 2,400-square-foot house along the Emerald Coast on the Florida Panhandle. The home (which can accommodate 14 guests at one time) will serve as a year-round vacation spot for families with autistic children -- free of charge.

Think about it: These are families who are not only probably more in need of a vacation than the average family, they're also the families who have the most difficulty getting away. These are families who are likely already going broke on medical bills and therapists. Not to mention facing the challenge of finding special needs-friendly destinations at any cost.

What Luis Navas has given these families is a potentially life-changing gift. Every family needs to get away, to bond and enjoy each other's company anew in a different setting -- all the better if that setting happens to be the sparkling Emerald Coast of Florida.

Do you think Luis Navas gave autistic kids and their families an amazing gift?

 

Image via Ben Ferenchak/Flickr

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