Taking care of those left behind: Foundation visits Fort Bragg
January 27, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Members of the Patriot Foundation, a non-profit charity, saw the fruits of their labor on a tour of Fort Bragg, Friday. Eleven Patriot Foundation board members and donors visited the headquarters of the XVIII Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division as well as the engagement skills and medical skills trainers. They also tried out exercise equipment used by Soldiers for adaptive physical training.
The foundation supports the Families of Soldiers in the XVIII Abn. Corps, 82nd Abn. Div., U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion and the Fort Bragg Survivor Outreach Services by funding merit-based scholarships for children. They also help spouses of disabled Soldiers get additional job training and development by providing money for childcare.
Lt. Col. Tom Schumacher Jr., Fort Bragg WTB commander said he is very appreciative of the charity's support. "(The organization members) do this all on their own so the administrative costs are what it costs to run the events," he said.
Recently the Patriot Foundation donated $100,000 through the Soldier Family Assistance Center that assists WTB Soldiers and their Families. "That money is utilized for daycare for spouses so they can go to school and get job retraining and educational expenses not covered by the GI Bill. (They're a) great organization," added Schumacher Jr.
The group saw many activities that have been touched by their fundraising efforts.
"I think we're doing a pretty good job but not nearly enough as it's going to be," said Mike Girimont, a board member of the Patriot Foundation. "It's a growing thing with us. It's going to keep growing and growing. The needs aren't going to go away and we're not going to go away."
The Patriot Foundation is ready to expand their help with a fundraising goal of at least $1 million, said Chuck Deleot, the foundation's president and chairman of the board.
The foundation plans to help children of fallen Soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky., beginning in April. They have also sent $125,000 in direct assistance to children of the 22 Navy SEALs who died in a Chinook crash in Afghanistan in August 2011.
"We try to help as many as we can," said Deleot.
The Patriot Foundation was started in 2003 by Spike Smith, initially as a charity golf tournament for Soldiers at Fort Bragg. Since then, the foundation has raised more than $1.5 million, including $650,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in scholarships for about 200 children.
For more information about the Patriot Foundation, visit www.patriotscholarships.com.