Travel co. offers Mt. Horeb man free trip

Couple claims they paid another company $6K for tour that never happened
Travel co. offers Mt. Horeb man free trip
Fred Doebler

A World War II history travel company in Kentucky is offering to take a Mt. Horeb veteran and his wife on a “Band of Brothers” tour to visit European battlefields for free, after the couple’s original tour company in Massachusetts took their money and did not follow through on the travel.

The Kentucky company offering the couple the trip is called “Beyond Band of Brothers Tours.” The company currently under investigation by Massachusetts law enforcement agencies is called “Band of Brothers Tours.”

Fred Doebler and his wife claim they paid $6,000 to Band of Brothers Tours in suburban Boston back in March. They were set to leave Thursday, but the company’s owner, Jake Powers, did not make any reservations or accommodations for them.

Powers told a reporter from the CBS affiliate in Boston on Wednesday that he knew he had a debt to pay to the Doeblers and others, but that health problems incurred this summer made that difficult to accomplish. He said he hoped to sell his company to a competitor next week and use those funds to pay back his customers.

After the story aired in Madison and Boston, the Kentucky-based Beyond Band of Brothers contacted News 3 and offered to take Doebler and his wife to follow in the footsteps of the 101st Airborne Division, whose paratroopers landed behind enemy lines the night before June 6, 1944 — D-Day — before fighting through Europe for the rest of the war. The Band of Brothers story was featured in an HBO mini-series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

“We would like to offer Mr. Fred Doebler and his wife two seats on any of our 2015 11-day Band of Brothers tours free of charge, so he can honor the Band of Brothers and their sacrifice the way he planned to and as a way of expressing our gratitude for his service to the United States,” wrote Niki Koves Montgomery, managing director of the company.

Doebler said he’s extremely grateful for the gesture by the Kentucky company and that he and his wife will try to make one of the offered tours next year.

Meanwhile, his advice to others looking to purchase similar tours is to do so with a credit card as those transactions are protected against fraud for a period of time after they’re used.

Powers is facing a charge of larceny over $250 by a common scheme, and is set to be arraigned by the Worcester County, Massachusetts, district attorney on Sept. 23. The police chief in Powers’ hometown of Grafton, just outside of Boston, confirms an investigation into Powers’ activities is continuing.

Doebler said he’s heard that numerous other tour hopefuls are also owed money. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office confirms it has received nine complaints about Band of Brothers Tours in 2014.