By Brigid Brett | North County Times | NCTimes.com | September 30, 2011
Richard "Sunny" Farrand hates to see anyone who has been injured while serving in the military falling through the cracks. Which is why he spends pretty much all his time checking up on wounded warriors at Naval Medical Center San Diego and helping military families who are trapped in bureaucratic limbo.
A Vietnam War Air Force veteran, Farrand knows what it's like to fall through the cracks. Sixteen years ago he was sleeping on the streets of San Diego, and couldn't have imagined that one day he'd be chairman of San Diego Heroes to Hometowns.
Farrand met Marine Sgt. Charlie Linville, his wife, Mandi, and their two small daughters at the Naval Medical Center. In January, in Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines (3/5), an IED explosion left Linville with two amputated fingers, injured his spine and crushed his foot. He also returned with the invisible wounds of war: mild traumatic brain injury and PTSD.
Because the family was based in Okinawa before coming to San Diego for Linville's treatment, "there were so many complications with communications between San Diego and Okinawa" that they lived in a San Diego hotel for three months, Mandi told me this week.
The hotel served cheese and crackers in the evening and each Thursday they got to have a "really good meal with amazing people who cared" because of Marine Parents (marineparents.com). Without organizations like the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund helping to pay for their lodging and car rental, she doesn't know what they would have done. Read the rest of this entry »