Shawn’s California Dream Vacation

“When I approached my family with this tremendous opportunity from the Freedom Alliance through Dream Renting to stay at the ‘Surf City Palace’ in Huntington Beach CA., they were all super excited that we were chosen for a dream vacation.”-Shawn Lengeman.

I am originally from Des Moines, Iowa.  I have been married to my wife Nichole for 13 years.  We have three children Josh(19), Shelby (16), and Nate (14). Josh is attending the University of Northern Colorado his current major is journalism. Shelby is a sophomore at Fountain-Ft. Carson High School, and Nate is in 8th Grade at Carson Middle School. Our family enjoys baseball, camping, and visiting with family.  Nate plays on one of the best competitive baseball teams in Colorado.

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Nichole and Sargent Shawn Lengeman

I served in the United States Army from July 1993 – July 1996. I was stationed at Schofield Barracks, HI.  Then to finish my eight year obligation time I joined the National Guard. I was in the Army National Guard from July 1996 to January 2001. I served in the California National Guard and Iowa National Guard. In July 2004 I decided to join the Army Reserves but had the urge to go back on active duty. After numerous discussions with my wife,Nichole, I decided to join the United States Army again and asked to be stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA. From February 2005 to June 2006 I was in the 1st squadron 2nd Calvary Regiment as an Infantry Squad Leader.  From June 2006 to August 2008 I was in the 4th BN 9th Infantry Regiment where I served as a Vehicle Commander of a STRYKER.  In April 2007 my unit was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  My Battalion was based out of Forward Operation Base Taji. My company was assigned to secure the town of Tarmiyah and to eliminate all insurgents.

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Sargent Shawn Lengeman

From August 2008 to May 2009 I was assigned to HHC 4th Brigade 4th Infantry Division. Finally I was assigned to the Ft. Carson Warrior Transition Unit to manage my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Traumatic Brain Injury. The Army officially retired me on March 17, 2010 at Ft. Carson, CO.

I attended Aspen Pointe’s Culinary Kitchen Program under the supervision of Chef Brent Beavers. After completing this program I earned a job with Chef Jason Guss, Chef Guss has won numerous culinary awards. My social skills have diminished over the years while the PTSD symptoms have gotten worse.  There have been a couple of things that has allowed me to be comfortable around other people. Barbequing and just the passion of creating food for other people have allowed me to be happy. My family was  so excited to vacation in Huntington Beach, CA. at the “Surf City Palace” that was just a block from the sand and surf of the Pacific Ocean.


Large Gourmet Fully Stocked Kitchen

Being from the Midwest, our family became increasingly excited about spending the week on the Southern California coast. “Having the opportunity to learn to surf doesn’t come every day when you live in the Midwest” -Jake.

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Shelby, Nate, Jake, Josh

Once we arrived at the “Surf City Palace” we were so happy!  The home was spacious to where all of us had our own room and could relax by ourselves or get the whole family together to watch a movie, have breakfast on the patio under the palm trees or just hang out on the living room couches catching up with each other as we laughed and told stories about what was happening in our lives.

“I really enjoyed the view we had from the Dream Rental House”. -Shelby

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Art right by Surf City Palace (left) View From Surf City Palace Balcony (right)

“The sunsets in Huntington Beach are breath taking!” -Nate

We would walk along the beach at various times of the day enjoying the sound of the ocean, the smell of the sea and the sand under our feet as we watched surfers, street performers, sunsets visited boutique shops and restaurants. Jake spent much of his time in the waves of the Pacific learning to surf, he actually got pretty good!

“I enjoyed being able to walk to all of the shops in Huntington Beach.” –Nate

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Nate, Jake and Shelby taking surfing lessons (left) Josh hanging out with Batman and Robin by the Pier (right)

“The results of this trip will never be able to be measured as I was able to connect just a little bit with all of my family in ways that I haven’t been able to do for years. By finding this connection with my family is something I will never be able to repay. Thank you so much to Dream Renting and Freedom Alliance for giving my family such a wonderful vacation at ‘Surf City Palace‘ –Shawn

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Shawn and his wife Nichole

“Our family had an amazing time and being able to see my mom and dad enjoy each other was very emotional. I would like to thank Dream Renting and Freedom Alliance so much!” –Nate

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Jake and Shelby Surfing in the sun of Huntington Beach

“I’ll never forget this vacation or all of the fantastic memories we made!” –Shelby

“Thank you, for this amazing opportunity and for this great tan!” –Jake

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