Today, November 11, 2014, is Veterans Day. And all of November is Warrior Care Month. These occasions are not simply pages on the calendar – they are calls to action.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as of December 2012, more than 900,000 service men and women have been treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics since returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And from 2001-2014, more than 117,000 cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in service members were diagnosed. The monthly influx of new patients at the end of 2012 was approximately 10,000. In all likelihood, this means that more than one million Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated for wounds sustained in the course of their service.
These painful statistics should motivate Americans to act on behalf of these heroes, recognizing the sacrifices they have made in service to us with more than platitudes.
There are many ways you can make a difference in the life of a Veteran, a wounded warrior, and their families. And let us never forget the families of our fallen heroes. Here are some of the many ways you can help:
• Let your Congressional representatives know that legislation supporting benefits and services for Veterans and their families is important to you.
• Volunteer to assist a local charity serving the needs of Veterans in your community, or even better, get involved and take on a role in their operations.
• Make a contribution to one or more efficient and effective charities serving Veterans and their families.
• And when you see a Vet, thank her or him for their service. It may not seem like a lot, but it matters. Recognize their service and sacrifice on Veterans Day and every day.
There are hundreds of American charitable organizations with a mission to serve Veterans, wounded warriors, and their families. The MVAT Foundation acts as a fiduciary, investigating and selecting the most effective and efficient charities to receive grants for their programs. Consider a gift to the MVAT Foundation and … Make a Difference in the Life of a Veteran.
A big “Thank You!” to all of the participants and sponsors of the 8th Annual MVAT Foundation Golf & Tennis Classic. You helped make it the biggest and most successful event yet and together we made a difference in the lives of so many of America’s wounded warriors, Veterans, and their families.
Held on August 18, 2014 at Los Angeles’ MountainGate Country Club, the Classic opened with our now traditional presentation of the colors by an Armed Forces Color Guard and the singing of the national anthem by Steve Amerson, known as America’s Tenor. After brief welcome addresses from several dignitaries and a recognition of the group of Wounded Warriors participating in the golf tournament, a line of more than 100 golf carts paraded past five recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who honored the MVAT Foundation that day with their presence.
The Color Guard is formed up to the middle of the participants and guests of honor at the opening ceremonies for the 2014 MVAT Golf and Tennis Classic.
As Steve Amerson, known as “America’s Tenor,” sings the National Anthem (at far left), recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor stand at attention. (From left to right) Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta, Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell, Major General Patrick Brady, Colonel Jack Jacobs, and Lieutenant Thomas G. Kelley.
Wounded warriors during the National Anthem.
More than 200 golfers and 30 tennis players enjoyed sunny skies and abundant hospitality as they joined together to raise funds that will be used by the Foundation to provide grants to select charities supporting wounded warriors, Veterans, and their families.
After a post play reception and silent auction that featured a patriotic flyover by the Condor Squadron, a tribute organization flying WWII-period AT-6 airplanes, more than 400 participants and guests enjoyed an impressive awards dinner under the stars. Addressing the audience that evening were representatives from several of the charitable organizations that funded by the MVAT Foundation.
Wounded warrior Jacob Williams heads out onto the golf course.
More than 400 guests enjoyed the 2014 MVAT Foundation Golf and Tennis Classic awards dinner.
MVAT Foundation Chairman Don Schwarz addresses the dinner crowd.
The first living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War was the night’s keynote speaker. U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta gave an inspiring talk about his experiences on and off the battlefield. Near the end of his address, he called up to the stage two of his fellow soldiers who fought with him in the same combat action for which he was awarded the nation’s highest decoration for battlefield valor. Sergeant Giunta recognized them not just for what they went through together that day in Afghanistan, but also for what it meant to serve with – and be responsible for – such exemplary people. A lively question and answer session followed. The three soldiers had also participated in the golf tournament and were quite popular during the pre-dinner reception. These were special opportunities MVAT Foundation supporters to make a personal connection with three of America’s bravest warriors.
The first living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta, addresses the rapt MVAT Foundation audience.
Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta with wounded warriors at the 2014 MVAT Foundation Golf and Tennis Classic.
The MVAT Foundation cannot thank you enough for continued support. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of our Veterans, wounded warriors, and their families.
On Saturday, September 6, the MVAT Foundation was honored to be the designated beneficiary of the grand reopening celebration for the historic Potter’s Mill located in the Mississippi River town of Bellevue, Iowa. Today, the mill building, constructed in 1843, houses the restaurant Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ and The Inn at Potter’s Mill, a B&B. The event featured live music throughout the day and attracted a large crowd of several hundred persons.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the fundraiser benefiting the MVAT Foundation on Saturday, September 6, 2014 (left to right): Dave Heiar, Director, Jackson County (Iowa) Economic Alliance; Chris Rolling, Mayor of Bellevue, Iowa; Rachel and Mark Herman, Potter’s Mill co-owners/operators; Carolyn and Butch Eggers, Potter’s Mill co-owners, and; Deanna Cook, Director of the Bellevue, Iowa Chamber of Commerce.
MVAT Foundation Executive Director James Colbert addresses the crowd at Potter’s Mill on Saturday, September 6, 2014.