With blaring sirens, flashing lights, waving flags and shouts of welcome, Master Sgt. Gerard Thomas and his wife Antonya disembarked the ferry Martha’s Vineyard for their first visit to the Vineyard.

Antonya and Gerard Thomas and DAR Regent Doris Clark. — Mark Lovewell

Master Sergeant Thomas is the second wounded veteran to receive a free vacation on the Island thanks to the work the Daughters of the American Revolution, Martha’s Vineyard Sea Coast Defence Chapter.

Master Sergeant Thomas served two tours of duty in Iraq, the first from 2004 to 2005 and the second from 2009 to 2010. He was wounded during an IED attack and sustained neck and back wounds, a traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Members of the DAR, the Oak Bluffs fire and EMS departments, and Vineyard veterans greeted Mr. Thomas with handshakes and hugs. Mrs. Thomas wiped tears from her eyes, and DAR member Donna Honig handed her a bouquet of sunflowers.

Master Sergeant Thomas and DAR member Cindy Krauss. — Mark Lovewell

“This is all for you guys,” DAR Regent Doris Clark said. “Welcome.”

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas drove up from Linden, N.C., and said they were completely surprised by the crowd greeting them as they got off the boat.

“This is a complete surprise. I wasn’t expecting all of this,” said Mr. Thomas.

Gift certificates and donations from around the Island will make sure the couple enjoys their Vineyard vacation, with chances to dine at restaurants like Chesca’s, Atria, the Seafood Shanty and Black Dog.

Oak Bluffs fire and EMS, DAR members and local veterans greeted the Thomases. — Mark Lovewell

Last year Ms. Clark introduced the idea of bringing wounded veterans to the Island for vacation. She plans to bring a wounded veteran and their family to the Vineyard every year.

“It will definitely continue for the next three years. I’d like it to go on forever,” said Ms. Clark. “Every regent has their own pet project.”

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas climbed back into their car, off to their lodgings in Vineyard Haven, looking forward to a vacation finding out all that the Vineyard has to offer.

“We just want to experience everything,” Mr. Thomas said. “I like to fish. I’m not saying I’m really good at it,” he added later with a laugh.