The Bugler

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Semper Fi Fund: Their mission is crucial; their duty is clear.

The basic ideal that drives the efforts of the Semper Fi Fund is simple - that as much as these American heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their road back to recovery. Injuries are often severe and rehabilitation can be long and costly.

This writer was introduced to the Semper Fi Fund one weekend in April at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. The event was the annual Sea Otter Classic, a four-day action-packed cycling and outdoor sports festival regarded as the world's largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. Athletes make the annual pilgrimage to participate in cycling's best competitive and non-competitive events in various mountain and road bike disciplines. The Semper Fi Fund had a display booth at the event. There the writer met a trim and muscular veteran who had spent 18 months in the hospital recuperating from nerve damage from electrocution while stationed in Iraq. That day he was dressed in Marine Corps red, having just completed a race. It was payback time.

The Semper Fi Fund is a nonprofit organization set up to provide immediate financial support for injured members of U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Urgently needed resources are directed to marine and naval personnel, as well as members of the army, air force or coast guard who serve in support of Marine forces. Since the fund was established in 2004, over $48 million has been distributed in more than 27,000 grants to almost 5,800 service men and women and their families. The Semper Fi Fund has a 32 -minute DVD - Cover Me - that details the effects of Combat Operational Stress (COS) and the importance of looking for it, recognizing it, and doing something about it.

"Combat Stress is a normal human reaction to combat experience, but it's unpredictable and invisible. It is difficult to identify in yourself and others, but you can learn to recognize it.Cover Me shows you people who have experienced Combat Stress themselves or have served or worked with others who have. Marines are trained to stay in the fight. Cover Me will help teach marines when to take time out to recover their emotional balance and combat readiness, or even occasionally move on with their lives. You'll hear about nightmares, anxiety, irritability and insomnia; you will see that it's bad when you lose someone but often worse after redeployment, when least expected; that rank is no protection; and talking to folks who understand is your strongest defense. Knowing the symptoms and understanding the characteristic signs may save a career or a life - yours or that of someone you love or respect."

                                            Dr. Loma K. Flowers
                                            Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Cover Me is not for sale but is available for a donation. Tax deductible contributions make a real difference - no matter where in the world you live. To their credit, the Semper Fi Fund received an A+ from the American Institute of Philanthropy on their first rating, as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator - their highest rating.

There are so many ways the Semper Fi Fund can help make a real difference:
          Relief from immediate financial pressures during recovery.
          Care of an injured family member with its unexpected challenges and demands.
          Custom-built ramps, widened doorways and specially adapted hardware.
          Vehicle modification for wheelchair use or other special needs required to regain independence.
          Specialized equipment not covered by insurance to help a veteran live a full and fulfilling life.
          Education and career transition assistance.

As part of its military program, U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, partners with the Semper Fi Fund to improve the recovery of injured Marines and sailors through sports and recreation. Team Semper Fi provides coaches, specialized sporting equipment, entry fees and travel expenses for the wounded team members.

Many of the Semper Fi Team members also participate in the Warrior Games, an Olympic-style event for wounded, injured and ill service members and veterans. The second annual event was held in June in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There were representatives from all branches of service. Run by the Olympic Committee and the Department of Defense, the Warrior Games developed from the idea that sports play a critical role in helping disabled service members recover physically and psychologically. A link to The New York Times article about the event is given below. By the way, members of Team Semper Fi helped lead the Marine Team to the first Champions Cup!

Strength of the wolf
Rudyard Kipling wrote that "The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf." That seems to sum up the spirit of the U.S. Marines.

Michael Tobey
Growing up in Whitefish, Montana, Michael had an active outdoor lifestyle until both legs were broken by artillery in the initial invasion of Afghanistan. He thought that active part of his life had ended with his injury ... until he read an article about an amputee who ran a Marine Corps marathon. Then he read about the Ride for Semper Fi - a 435-mile bike ride between Phoenix and San Diego. He bought a bike, trained, rode and met other Marine Corps veterans with similar experiences. While he's not able to walk well, he is able to ride a bike very well, and he's taking full advantage of that. He's been with Team Semper Fi for three years, enjoying both the competition and camaraderie. There are events every couple of weeks throughout the states, though with a current commitment to his graduate business studies, he no longer rides as often as he did.

For more information ...

Be sure to look at the video for more information about the Semper Fi Fund and the heroes they help:

U.S. Paralympics:

"In Warrior Games, Power of Sport Aids the Wounded":

The Soldier Ride of the Wounded Warrior Project is a series of annual biking events that provides adaptive cycling opportunities in cities across the U.S. to help wounded warriors battle the physical and psychological damages of war. The goal of Soldier Ride is not to produce pro athletes but to reintroduce people to an active lifestyle after months or even years of rehabilitation. Participants may continue on to become Paralympic champs and cycling enthusiasts; or they may decide that cycling isn't for them. Either way, they're already committed to a more active lifestyle, and the Wounded Warrior Project will find ways to encourage them.

56 Founding Fathers - yes and no!

Did the Bugler two weeks ago sound like too good a story to be true? It was! And subscribers immediately pointed this out! This writer is not excusing her responsibility for the error, but you are owed an explanation. Honestly, a lot of time is spent researching and fact checking what is written for the Bugler, but I goofed on this one. My error; my apologies. I confess that, with an impending overseas trip of three weeks and the pressures of the next catalog, several Buglers were put together quickly, and I pulled this story that someone had sent to me several years ago. I trusted it, and I shouldn't have. To set the record straight, please refer to the following site for facts, fiction and sources:

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