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This holiday was extra-special – and sunny – for one veteran and his family. 

Former Marine Thomas McDonnell received the gift of a luxury villa stay in December. He, his wife, and their three children – also joined by his parents and grandparents – left upstate New York for a week on the shores of St. Martin. 

Thomas McDonnell and family

Former U.S. Marine Thomas McDonnell and his family received the gift of a St. Martin villa stay this holiday. 

“It was truly an unbelievable experience — from the gorgeous views and private accommodations to the concierge service, which made dinner reservations and enabled us to easily explore the island,” McDonnell said. “This was a dream vacation beyond our wildest dreams.”  

To show our gratitude for those who have served our country, the Villas of Distinction team set out to find a veteran to give the holiday gift of a well-deserved getaway. With the help of the Civic Duty Partners, Inc. and the New York State Troopers Marine Corps Association, we found McDonnell, who was an infantryman with the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines. 

As a Marine, McDonnell spent the majority of 2005 in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province. During his deployment, he suffered a severe concussion during an assault on his base involving a truck bomb, for which he received the Purple Heart recognition. 

Now serving his community as a police officer in the Rochester, N.Y. area, McDonnell and his family spent their holiday getaway at Mumbai, a beachfront villa on the border of St. Martin’s French and Dutch sides. The vacation, valued at $25,000, also included airfare, courtesy of Villas of Distinction partner Dream Vacations, as well as our exclusive Villa Concierge services, available with every villa stay to help arrange activities, dinners, and more.  

 
Mumbai

The family spent a week at Mumbai, a waterfront villa within a private village on Cupecoy Beach in Dutch Sint Maarten. 

“We are thrilled to be able to give Thomas and his family a dream villa vacation,” said Josh Tolkin, Business Development Director for Villas of Distinction. “We're in an amazing industry and it is our pleasure to share what we do with a veteran and his family. This is a gesture of our appreciation, and we are happy that Thomas was able to relax and enjoy quality time with his family this holiday season.”