Pennsylvania’s 6th Annual Walk for the Wounded will take place Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Rose Tree Park in Media, PA. For more information visit www.walkforthewounded.org or call 610-565-3679.
A record-setting 10,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event in support of Operation First Response (OFR), a national 501-C3 non profit organization that donates 90 percent of every dollar directly to wounded soldiers and their families who face serious health and financial battles on the home front.
Representatives of OFR visit Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland every week and meet with wounded veterans and their families who are struggling to cope with their fears about the future while dealing with serious and even life-altering injuries. Many of the soldiers they meet have had their lives changed forever as they deal with severe burns, organ damage, amputations, and painful surgeries. According to OFR, those physical injuries are often followed by mounting bills at home for ongoing therapies, chronic pain management, job retraining, obtaining transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, and necessary home renovations.”
“Sometimes a soldier’s need is so large, we catch our breath and pray for a miracle,” acknowledges OFR President, Peggy Baker.
“Last year we raised an amazing $175,000 to help soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan,” explained Nick Constantino, a senior executive for OFR who lives in Broomall. “Many soldiers come home from the battlefield, only to be met with seemingly insurmountable physical and financial challenges here at home,” explained Constantino who provided these statistics for 2011:
853 wounded heroes and their Families received assistance with mortgage and rent, utilities, vehicle payments and groceries
98 wounded heroes and their families received air transportation.
86 wounded heroes and their families received ground transportation and lodging.
650 OFR Backpacks were sent to combat support hospitals in theatre.
Constantino added, “None of these actions would have been possible without the support of all those who participate in this event – we did our very first Walk five years ago, and in that time residents of Delaware County and beyond, have donated more than $600,000.”
Constantino credits the staff of Delco’s Brandywine Conference and Visitors Bureau for helping OFR design, implement and grow the fundraiser which has become a popular patriotic family-fun day.
Local companies and organizations are encouraged to call Marty Milligan (610-565-3679) at the Brandywine Tourism Bureau regarding sponsorship opportunities.
“Each of us can literally change a soldier’s life by contributing to this event,” explains Tore Fiore, Executive Director of the Bureau. “Every sponsor, every walker, every dollar raised by this event helps a wounded soldier and his or her family meet the challenges brought about by serious injury. This is where we can stand and say ‘we have your back, ,” Fiore concluded.
“It makes me proud,” Constantino added, “to have so many people from my home county come out each year to help our wounded heroes get their lives back on track.”
To sign up to walk, visit www.operationfirstresponse. org and join a team or start one of your own. Call 610-565-3679 for more information,
Operation First Response is part of the AMERICA SUPPORTS YOU family of chari-ties,and works directly with wounded soldiers in crisis, with referrals coming from a variety of military and medical sources, including medical personnel at Walter Reed Hospital, the first stop for many wounded soldiers returning from the Middle East.