Service Forward

Selfless service is a privilege and something I was honored to participate in, both as a service member and now in my current field.

Gary Sinise Foundation

I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people who genuinely are making a difference. Last year I attended the American Airlines Sky Ball and got a brief opportunity to meet Gary Sinise; an American actor, musician and humanitarian. His Gary Sinise Foundation is truly an amazing organization. They offer so many programs, but one in particular is their RISE. An acronym which stands for Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment; which helps our wounded warriors by building adaptive homes for their special needs. They were recognized for their efforts that night and I have paid attention to them more closely ever since.

Quality of life

Many of our wounded warriors have suffered catastrophic injuries that make the simplest of tasks difficult if not impossible. Many of these mundane tasks can literally be out of reach to our wounded warriors. The foundation’s efforts to improve their quality of life by increasing their mobility and self reliance is one that is very close to me. I have had the pleasure of working with some of our wounded warriors, but their challenges are beyond my comprehension, I just know they are there. It seems in today’s world many Americans have forgotten their freedom is anything but free and many have paid for their freedom with their lives. Others are lucky to come home and foundations such as Gary’s recognize the importance of our freedoms and the challenges some face as a result. They are a gift we should never take for granted.

Stepping into the gap

While our Veterans Affair do their best to create a higher quality of life my belief is we as a community must step forward into the gap. There is a sense of camaraderie that veterans share. It could be years or decades since we’ve last seen one another yet it is as if it was yesterday when we get back together. It is truly a blessing and difficult to explain, but my belief is through our connectivity we can make a difference in a more timely manner.

Friendship forged

Last year I had the chance to meet Brian Koflage and while that name may not sound familiar you may recall his brutally honest letter to President Obama criticizing him and his actions. If not, here’s a link and it is spot on. To say Brian is lucky to be alive is an understatement. While deployed overseas in support of our Global War on Terrorism an RPG impacted danger close and the injuries he sustained took three of his limbs.

Learning his story

I spoke to Brian last year on several occasions, working to support his excellent news feed website as well as work in tandem during various radio interviews. His spirit impresses me along with his smile and when he told me he was the recipient of a home provided by the Gary Sinise Foundation I was super excited. Being a triple amputee is not without its challenges and I have no doubt his new adaptive home will increase his and his family’s quality of life for decades to come.

The last obstacle

However, in one of our conversations he mentioned a formality with the new house. The Foundation must work within certain parameters for budgetary considerations and the land the house will rest on exceeds that budget. We talked about a few ideas on how to bridge the gap and it appears the best way to do that is to go public, something Brain wasn’t too crazy about. It occurred to me that telling his story and that of the foundation’s might help generate awareness and interest in helping. I was honored Brian agreed to let me tell his story, knowing him and his humility it was difficult to talk about himself. There is now a crowd funding project setup to help them reach their goal. My hope is I have been able to get the word out and folks are willing to help.

Click here for the GoFundMe link

You don’t really stop serving, it is a part of your DNA.

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