Sunday, January 10, 2010

WIA Grant Program Update

Post Mission Report – WIA Grants

The MN Patriot Guard has been granting $1,000 to each wounded warrior we could find. It started out with buying an airline ticket for Katie Kriesel to visit John in Germany after he was wounded. We have since then granted 25 wounded warriors our small token of appreciation. But we knew there were many more and wanted to find them.

We have partnered with the Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) program and local Veterans Services Officers in finding Combat Related Purple Heart recipients from OEF/OIF who reside in MN. We have been very fortunate in sourcing what we believe to be 24 more around the state at this time. The time is right for us to do this after receiving a $20,000 donation from the Pawlenty for Governor Campaign as it was winding down.

We started out by working with Jill Van Vugt of the Army Wounded Warrior programs (AW2). We provided the list of those who we previously donated to and she went to work. By going through her list she contacted them one by one and asked if it was OK to pass their contact info to us. At no time was their privacy compromised in this effort.

Other motivated people such as Ron Mackedanz contacted those he knew qualified and we had not donated to. Slowly this first list of 24 came together to start our donations with.

The Tribute To The Troops saw what we were doing and decided to make a $5,000 donation to help us complete this mission. We are very grateful for this help.

This last weekend we began to make the presentations to this latest group. At the Willmar and Brainerd/St Cloud Meet & Greet 10 of the checks were given out. Many more have been sent to Ride Captains to coordinate in the way the hero wants to make it happen.

Some of these heroes preferred to be very private and others were comfortable with a public presentation. However they wanted to make it happen we were OK with. Their privacy and wishes were the first priority.

While we regret not being able to do this when they first came home the upside to doing this now, years later in some cases, is that we can show we will never forget their service and sacrifice. It seems to mean more when done later on and they have moved back to regular life as it might be for them.

We know that $1,000 won’t change their lives. But if it helps out in some way to let them know we love and appreciate them we cannot put a price on that.

We will continue to look for heroes such as these. If you know of someone who qualifies (Combat Related Purple Heart recipients from OEF/OIF who reside in MN) please contact me at so we can work on it. Unless they are recommended through formal military channels we will ask for a copy of their DD214 to qualify them.

Support these men and women are part of our core mission responsibility. We do many other wonderful things that show our support of our military heroes but this is at the center of it. Thank you for your hard work making this all possible.