Last year on Veteran’s Day we at The Plan Collection told you about our charity partner, Semper Fi Fund, and the incredible work they do to help qualifying post-9/11 veterans and their families. We continue to support Semper Fi Fund as it expands its mission to care for combat wounded, critically ill, and catastrophically injured veterans and their families from all US military service branches during hospitalization and recovery.
According to Semper Fi Fund’s founders, “Our story began in the spring of 2003. Just back from Operation Iraqi Freedom, the first wave of wounded Marines and Sailors landed at Camp Pendleton, CA. A dedicated group of Marine spouses began to organize welcome home activities at the hospital. They arranged travel for family members who couldn’t afford airfare. They provided a specialized van for a Marine who is now a quadriplegic through the generosity of donors like retired Marine Colonel Jack Kelly. The group assembled and distributed care bags filled with toiletries and phone cards. And still, the injured kept coming.
“Every day, Semper Fi Fund experiences lives transformed by hope. Deeply inspired by the determination of service members and their families to overcome, we take concrete steps to show them a new way forward: Post-Traumatic Growth.”
Top: Semper Fi Fund helps catastrophically injured combat veterans like Carlos Garcia recover and recuperate – while helping their families along the way. Bottom: The Fund also takes part in events like the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon, where it was the largest charity partner for the seventh consecutive year.
Through 15 and counting programs under general headings like Service Member and Family Support, Transition, and Integrative Wellness, Semper Fi Fund helps its veterans cope with life after service. The Veteran 2 Veteran Support program (under Transition) is a good example. According to the program, "Veterans know best how to help peers develop the knowledge and skills necessary for success beyond the military. This program is designed to support transitioning service members as they return to their communities. It trains and empowers Veteran Leads to help other veterans make a smoother transition back to civilian life."
The Semper Fi Fund program called Veteran 2 Veteran Support helps veterans transition to civilian life. Says V2V Veteran Lead Brandon (at right in photo), "So many service members feel like they’re alone, like there’s no path forward. For someone who has made that journey to be able to step up and say – from personal experience – ‘this is how I traveled my path forward,’ that’s a profoundly powerful thing to be able to do."
Getting Even Better
It may be hard to believe that such an amazing charity can get any better, but it has.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC helps us remember the sacrifices young soldiers made for us, and Semper Fi Fund is now helping Vietnam veterans as part of its expanded mission.
Eligibility criteria include:
• Blind/legally blind
• Paralyzed (paraplegia, quadriplegia)
• Amputation (loss of leg, arm or any combination)
• Burned over 50% of the body
• Severe Traumatic Brain Injury — cannot function independently (needs 24/7 care and supervision)
• Life threatening illness linked to Agent Orange exposure (recognized by VA)
If eligible, assistance may be provided in the following areas (case by case basis):
• Transportation grant (Adaptive Vehicle or Modifications, Vehicle Repairs)
• Housing grant (Modifications, Repairs, Adaptive Home)
• Medical Care grant — (not covered by insurance or VA)
This new program ensures that no service member is left behind with assistance in transportation, housing, and medical care for qualified veterans.
Vietnam veterans like these can now get help for catastrophic injury or illness, including sickness from Agent Orange exposure, through the LCpl Parsons Welcome Home Fund for Vietnam Veterans run by Semper Fi Fund.
Looking for a Highly Rated Charity?
If you’re looking to thank our veterans for their service, then help support Semper Fi Fund and the important work that the organization does.
You can be sure that your donation is directly helping those who have sacrificed so much for all of us. Semper Fi Fund has had
• A Charity Watch A+ rating for 7 consecutive years
• A Charity Navigator 4-Star rating for 8 consecutive years
• And only a 7% overhead since its inception in 2004.
Fundraising events like this – manned by volunteers – help raise funds and keep overhead down, contributing to Semper Fi Fund's maintaining a mere 7% overhead since it was started.
Semper Fi Fund Is Making a Difference – How Can I Help?
There are many ways to donate – your money and/or your time – and every donation and person makes a difference. Here are just a few:
1. Online donation – one-time or monthly
2. Tribute or Honor gifts
3. Mail a check
4. Create a fundraising campaign or volunteer for one.
5. Look into corporate support opportunities, which are also available.
Donating to or volunteering for Semper Fi Fund enables the organization to help severely disabled veterans and their families – like the Army Sgt. Andrew and Tori Smith family (top) and Marine Sgt. Julian Torres and his son, Julian Lucas (bottom), along with wife, Ashley, and daughter, Analicia – live lives as close to normal as possible. Some even take part in the effort to help other veterans like themselves.