A great organization to get behind. Check it!
By Tony Oliva, Bullets First
As you may have recall I wrote an article at the end of last year exposing the Wounded Warrior Project for the minuscule amount of donations that actually go to programs meant to help veterans. I also highlighted a number of veterans who felt like props and fundraising tools rather than actually getting help.
Plus there’s the fact that the Wounded Warrior Project is against the 2nd Amendment.
Among the hundreds of comments from other veterans who agreed with the article and shared their own stories of being pawns in the WWP’s end game of making money, a number of people asked “what is an alternative organization I can give to in order to help vets?”
A reader emailed me directly and told me to look into the Phoenix Patriot Foundation. I looked into it and I REALLY liked what I found. And Phoenix isn’t in reference to the city (they’re based out of San Diego) but rather the legendary bird that rises from the ashes to live again. Ex Cinere Surgemus – Out of Ashes We will Rise. Poetically accurate.
First off, this is an organization for vets run by vets. That in itself lends a certain amount of understanding and intimate knowledge of what the people they are helping are going through.
The creator of the Phoenix Patriot Foundation is Jared Ogden, graduate of the US Naval Academy and SEAL officer.
During his second deployment to Afghanistan as a SEAL Officer, Jared’s teammate and friend was severely injured by an IED resulting in the amputation of both his legs and severe internal injuries. Returning from Afghanistan in the spring of 2010, Jared founded the Phoenix Patriot Foundation to give back to patriots who have been injured in combat and help them continue their service through non-military capacities reintegrating to civilian life.
Nearly every person associated with the foundation is a veteran with multiple deployments into hostile countries. I’m not saying that a civilian is unable to help veterans, but they will not have the same relatable experiences and know the challenges first hand as someone who has felt the heat.
For instance, one of the first initiatives that the PPF does is set up unit reunions for wounded vets.
Upon injury, the wounded veteran heads straight to a military facility to begin treatment and rehabilitation and may stay there for months to years. The remaining unit is still in combat overseas, and upon the end of their deployment, they return straight back to their duty station. These reunions will bring the wounded and their units together again, and will be customized to the interests of the injured patriot. In addition to promoting psychological and emotional well-being, these programs will also reinforce community, facilitate recovery, and welcome reintegration.
Read more: Bullets First