2018 July Impacts

Military and Their Families

Children of wounded warriors face many challenges as they learn to adapt to physical, mental, and emotional changes when a parent comes home injured. Along with the sacrifice of having a parent injured or away in service for months at a time, many families are financially stretched and cannot afford the fees for sports, fine arts, or tutoring programs so crucial to a child’s sense of well-being. Our Military Kids steps in to help these children by providing them with grants to cover the fees for these programs. Each grant covers up to $500 for six months of participation. The Foundation was proud to donate $3000 in support of those grants.

 

Founded in 2003, Operation Support Our Troops-America is a grassroots effort that has become one of the largest volunteer based military support organizations in the country. With a $3000 donation, Foundation was proud to help their mission to support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families both while they are deployed in harm’s way and after their return.

 

Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. The Foundation was proud to donate $3000 to help transport these heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Honor Flight gives top priority to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

 

Homes for Our Troops builds specially adapted, mortgage-free homes nationwide for the most severely injured Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan most of whom have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury. The Foundation was honored to donate $3000 to help build homes and restore freedom and independence to this Veteran:

Always having a desire to serve in the military, Preston Kaplan joined the Army as an Infantryman right after high school. He deployed to Iraq twice, first in 2005 and again in 2007.

On April 28, 2008, during his second deployment, Sergeant Kaplan was on a mounted mission with 1-502d Inf, 2nd Brigade, 101st Air Assault Division, when an explosively formed projectile (EFP) struck his vehicle. The blast resulted in severe damage to his right leg.

Preston underwent almost 60 surgeries within 18 months trying to salvage his right leg before making the decision to have it amputated. He acknowledges his recovery was still challenging after the amputation, but Preston was determined to persevere and motivated to improve. By 2011, he was able to walk again on a prosthetic. Preston does quite a bit more than walking now – he runs, scuba dives, skydives, golfs, fishes, and hunts. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I’ll never give up and stop going because of my injury,” he says.

Though Preston has returned to doing the activities he loves in the sky and on land, his current home still remains a battleground. His wheelchair does not fit in his current home, which prevents him from performing simple tasks like pouring himself a glass of water. Receiving a specially adapted Homes For Our Troops home with an open floorplan and accessible kitchen with pull down shelves and roll under sinks will alleviate these issues.

The new home will also be beneficial for Preston’s future plans with his wife Nicole, who is currently serving on active duty as a promotable Army Staff Sergeant. The financial freedom of an HFOT home will allow them to focus on raising their new family. Preston and Nicole welcomed their first child, Eliana, in April 2018.

Preston intends to return to school to finish his degree in process technology and work in the oil industry. He also enjoys volunteering in his community and supporting fellow Veterans. He recently became involved with Mighty Oaks, a faith-based organization that supports Veterans. An active member of his church community, Preston helps provide meals to the homeless through the Jesus Hope & Love Mission. Additionally, he has shared his story at fundraisers for Disabled Sports USA and War Fighter Sports.

Preston and Nicole say HFOT is a blessing and they are incredibly grateful to the organization’s donors and supporters. “Homes For Our Troops is a game-changer. We feel so fortunate to have this opportunity,” he says. “It is your gracious donations and support that allow us wounded Veterans to regain ourselves and continue to become providers for our families.”

 

EXTRA DIFFERENCE FOR JULY

 

In Austin, the Foundation became a new sponsor of the Dream Dinners Foundation (DD) with a $500 donation to their meal-packing event scheduled for September 2018.  DD has a goal of raising $20,000 and packing enough meals during the event to feed 50,000 families locally and in Haiti.

The Foundation donated $2000 to Convoy of Hope in order to help fight the catastrophic wildfires that continue to ravage California. The Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of the Ranch Fire and the River Fire, has burned 283,800 acres and destroyed 75 residences. That fire complex has now surpassed 2017’s Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as the largest fire in California fire history.

The Foundation was proud to support Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life Ride by donating $1000. CF Cycle for Life is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's premier cycling event. Each year, thousands of cyclists gather in dozens of cities across the nation to take part in an exciting effort to raise funds and awareness for cystic fibrosis.

In support of the Pan-Mass Challenge benefitting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Foundation was honored to donate $2022.50 to participating riders in the race.

The Foundation was again proud to be a sponsor of and donate $1500 to the Champions for Cures’ Birdies for Cures golfing event. Each year the proceeds raised by the organization are designated by an annually elected “Champion” to be used in support of families fighting cancer and research for cures with approval from the Champions for Cures Board.  The 2018 purpose, as selected by the family of the 2018 Champion, is for 100% of the proceeds to be donated to Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Chicago.  You can read more about their work here:

https://givetomedicine.uchicago.edu/featured-priorities/cancer

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