October 16, 2006

Wounded Warrior Project

Today, I went to a dinner at a charity event. This happens several times a year, where we help "fill a table" for a corporation that has cut a check for a good cause- - the Boy Scouts, college educational foundations, etc. But this one was different. I'd never heard of this organization before. It was raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project
What's this? The website says "The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to raise public awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members to aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
Tonight, they spoke of their "Disabled Sports Project" where wounded soldiers-missing one arm or leg, or two, or...are invited to all-expense paid outings where they learn or relearn how to ski, golf, fly-fish, or whatever. The goal is to get them out of bed as soon as possible, and to learn how to play the sport in one day.

At each of the tables were a number of us corporate types, plus one "Wounded Warrior". At my table was Chris Short, from Arkansas. He lost his right leg below the knee somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The Secretary of the Army was at the table over my shoulder. But the stars of the show were the wounded vets, most in dress uniform.

And Claudia Mitchell, from Breezy Point, Queens, in a cocktail gown, comfortable and natural with her bionic arm, which she controls with her mind.

Major Ed Pulido, from Oklahoma City, was one of the guys who got up to speak. He lost his left leg to an improvised explosive device in Iraq in August 2005. When in the pit of despair in a hospital bed, two members of the Wounded Warrior Project came to visit. They offered to take him to learn new sporting skills--but, he said, he thanks them most for what they did not give him. Pity of any kind.

The most understandable thing in the world would have been for one of these young men or women to stay in bed, cursing the cruel and unfair hand they were dealt. Wounded Warrior couldn't help with that.

But they could help him learn new physical skills, gain new confidence, and do it quickly.

Tonight, the morale and camaraderie of these guys and girls was through the roof. As was that of their families.

If you want to contribute to this great organization, go here

PS- this isn't about supporting or not supporting the war or other government policy. It is about helping brave men and women.

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