Staff writer | JDNews | JDNews.com | July 16, 2011
Children of injured Camp Lejeune Marines were set to be welcomed home late Saturday night with a party after spending a week at a special camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
More than 50 children who have been at the Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp were to return at 7 p.m., but traffic in Virginia pushed their return later in the night. Parents and family were waiting for them at Marston Pavilion.
The camp, in Roaring Run, Penn., partners young children of wounded, injured and critically ill troops with positive high school aged mentors, said Wendi Mundy, East Coast case manager for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Located at the Outdoor Odyssey Camp, which conducts a reintegration program for wounded warriors, the Semper Fi Funds Kids Camp provides a fun-filled week of confidence building and educational activities, according to information provided by the organization.
Kids had a chance to rappel, go hiking, explore caves and swim. The children were given the opportunity to build camaraderie with other children who share some of the same experiences of having a parent who has been wounded or injured, or become critically ill, Mundy said.
The cost of the camp and returning party for the 31 children and 27 high school mentors from Jacksonville and Quantico, Va., was covered by the Semper Fi Fund.
The Semper Fi Fund is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance and quality of life solutions for Marines and sailors, as well as members of the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard who serve in support of Marine forces, when they become injured in post 9/11 combat or training operations, or they face life threatening illness or injury. The fund provides relief to qualified military members and their families for immediate financial needs that arise during hospitalization and recovery, as well as long-lasting needs such as home modifications, customized transportation and specialized equipment, all according to information from the organization.
Celebrating its seventh anniversary, the Semper Fi Fund was founded by Karen Guenther, who as a registered nurse and spouse of an active duty Marine, saw first-hand the challenges faced by wounded Marines and sailors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families. She, along with a dedicated group of military spouses established the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund in May of 2004.
The fund has awarded more than 31,000 financial grants totaling more than $50 million to service members and their families.