Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Day 200 - Foam Away From Home

A comfortable mattress and pillow makes a world of difference in a good night’s sleep. Back in January, when Wayne told us he planned to carry his oversized memory foam pillow on the flight to Kuwait, we all chuckled. Unfortunately, he left the pillow on one of the planes, and ended up sleeping on an army issue until we could ship him another one.

We dumped our old mattress last summer after one night at the Radisson Admiral Semmes Hotel in Mobile. The hotel chain introduced a custom-designed Sleep Number bed by Select Comfort™ at 249 Radisson properties in 2004, with the majority of Radisson's 90,000 beds upgrading to Sleep Number® beds this year and next.

Back on our own foam last night, we admitted the Sawgrass Mariott in Ponte Vedra Beach had pampered us pretty well Saturday with their sumptuous, seriously substantial pillowtop mattress, plush down-filled comforter and pillows, custom duvet and cotton-rich linens.

Highlights of the day at Sawgrass included a round of golf on the famous Stadium Course, home of The Players’ Championship. Joined by Alex Bauer, a recruiter for Kaplan University of Boca Raton, Myron almost birdied the legendary island green on the 17th hole.

By late afternoon, we were ready for massages at the Spa at Sawgrass, a full-service oasis of leisure surrounded by 15 acres of winding lagoons, moss-draped water oaks, twisted palms and giant magnolias.

For dinner, we followed our noses to the Augustine Grille, a casually elegant specialty restaurant featuring Stockyard Beef from Chicago, plus grilled seafood, steak, and chops. Executive Chef since 1997, Charles Charbonneau describes the menu as ‘very American with some very distinctive concepts, all prepared with the freshest ingredients available locally.’

We enjoyed Grilled Filet Mignon with Chateaubriand Sauce and Pan Seared Ruby Red Snapper on a Lobster Rissoto Cake, while our server, Raymond Yazzie, greeted other diners by name as they entered the restaurant.

“During the 10 years I’ve worked here, many of our guests have become like family,” he explained. “In fact, these friends often send us Christmas gifts.”

I can see why. Raymond is one of five professional servers at the Grille whose combined tenure comprises over 40 years’ experience.

Now, if we could just get Wayne home to enjoy some of this….