By Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Wetzel | USMC | Marines.mil | July 7, 2011
Arlington, VA. In seven years, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, a civilian operated support fund for Marines, raised and provided $50 million in financial assistance to injured and critically ill service members and their families.
This milestone signifies the growth of the fund and its ability to support injured Marines. The program provides financial relief to qualified service members and their families to cover costs for hospitalizations and recovery. It also helps with recurring needs such as home modifications, customized transportation and specialized equipment.
"It is through the incredible love and support of a grateful nation that we have been able to assist more than 6,000 wounded service members and their families since our first day of operations with more than $50 million in assistance and 31,000 grants," said Karen Guenther, Marine wife and founder of the fund. "It is truly proof of the love our country has for our Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, and coast guardsmen."
The Semper Fi Fund, established in May 2003, has approximately 120 volunteers around the world, most of them military spouses, who process about 45 daily requests to help wounded military veterans and their families. The fund focuses on Marines and members of other services who were wounded while attached to Marine units.
Semper Fi Fund has provided various forms of assistance to military families, from arranging travel for family members to visit their injured veteran to providing a specialized van for a quadriplegic Marine.
As of May 31, 5,247 Marines, 689 sailors, 135 soldiers, five airmen and three coastguardsmen have received the funds' assistance.
Brandon Pelletier, a veteran machine gunner, crushed his right arm in non-combat operations while deployed. The fund helped him recover from his physical injuries and assisted him through his rehabilitation through group events such as Team Semper Fi, Semper Fi Fund's rehabilitative athletic program. The fund even sponsored a trip to Alaska for Pelletier and several other injured veterans to aid in their mental recovery.
"A man came in from the Semper Fi Fund and offered help. I thought it was false help, like the "thought that counts" sort of thing," Pelletier said. "It wasn't. They really helped me and even got me back into sports."
Semper Fi Fund also helped Pelletier with school during rehab, something he wouldn't have been able to do without them, he said.
"I don't know how I would have made the transition without their help and guidance," Pelletier said. "Mainly, just their friendship is what helped the most."
Since receiving help from Semper Fi Fund, Pelletier has won numerous medals at the Paralympics National Championship and at the Warrior Games and went on to become a U.S. Paralympics' Team trainer. He also helps Semper Fi Fund by speaking at fundraisers and other events.
The money that Semper Fi Fund raises will continue to help injured Marines, just like Pelletier.
"We wish to extend our most sincere thanks to the thousands of supporters who have helped and continue to help us in accomplishing our mission," Guenther said. "The needs for our services will continue for the foreseeable future and it is our goal to ensure that these needs are met and not forgotten."
For more information on Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and how to donate visit http://semperfifund.org/ or call 760-725-5421.
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
825 College Blvd, Suite 102 PMB 609
Oceanside, CA 92057