Marine Corps veteran Staff Sgt. Brian Siegman commended the efforts of Operation First Response to help wounded veterans returning to civilian life, and urged residents to join the Walk for Wounded fundraiser May 14 in Rose Tree Park.
Siegman, the guest speaker at the 2016 Walk for Wounded event, was recognized by Delaware County Council when Council presented a resolution for Walk for Wounded.
“In Delaware County, we are dedicated to supporting our men and women in the Armed Services, and the 39,000 veterans now living in our county,” said Council Chairman and veteran Mario J. Civera Jr.
“A remarkable program that helps wounded veterans and their families is Operation First Response, a national organization that serves all branches of our nation’s wounded heroes, assisting them and their families with personal and financial needs,” Civera said. “In Delaware County, we are honored that Rose Tree Park is the setting for a major event, Walk for the Wounded, which raises funds for Operation First Response.”
Walk for the Wounded takes place Saturday, May 14. This is the 9th year that the walk has been organized by Nick Constantino, senior advisor to Operation First Response, in partnership with Marc Manfre, director of Parks and Recreation Department, and Tore Fiore, director of the Destination Delco Visitors Center.
“This is truly a remarkable event. Last year 1,500 people walked, including veterans of all ages. To date, Walk for the Wounded has raised over $1.3 million dollars,” Civera said.The day starts with a 5K run at 10 a.m. That is followed by a ceremony at 11 a.m., when Delaware County Council recognizes Philadelphia Police Officer and Delco Native Jesse Hartnett. Officer Hartnett’s heroic actions were above and beyond when he was ambushed by a lone gunman while on patrol in West Philadelphia.
Officer Hartnett is a 2001 graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School. He served with the U.S. Coast Guard, joining right after the September 11th attacks, and served on active duty from 2009-2015. He then served with the Coast Guard Reserve from 2009 to 2015. He will be the recipient of an award for bravery.
Guest speaker Brian Siegman is a Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. When he returned in 2010, he served as a police officer in Upper Darby. A father of four, he is now studying global studies at Delaware County Community College.
“It is hard to comprehend what our servicemen and women face in a combat situation, or serving in a hostile country. But it’s just as hard to comprehend what it must be like to return to civilian life after suffering life-changing injuries, often followed by mounting bills,” Civera said.
Operation First Response offers financial aid to veterans based on individual needs and can range from rent and utilities, to home alterations to add accessibility, to clothing and travel expenses.
The mission is to help these wounded heroes get through their recovery period and transition from military life to the civilian world.