In 2007, a small group of retired Marines came together to form The Semper Fi Community Task Force. The task force wanted to serve the community but not in any way to duplicate the efforts of others or interfere with the successful activities that were already being undertaken. We found that wounded veterans returning from recent conflicts did not receive a proper welcome home due to long hospital stays as a result of their injuries. In November of 2007, the task force started with 17 wounded warriors who were invited to Huntsville for activities and appreciation of their sacrifice.

This year the task force will be hosting its 10th Hero's Week, honoring 60 guests. The guests include service members and their spouses, caregivers, and service dogs. The event has grown with the support of local government officials, local law enforcement, organizations, small and large businesses, and the community at large. Our community has embraced this event by providing our guests motorcade escorts, Corvette rides in the Veterans Day Parade, yacht cruises on Lake Guntersville, flights over north Alabama, a Marine Corps Ball, a fishing tournament and visits to local schools. All of these activities and gifts are donated through the kindness and generosity of our community.

We receive feedback from our guests telling us how the event has impacted their lives. Many of the spouses tell us that they did not realize how much they needed a break from the medical appointments, surgeries, caring for the children and the service member. Our guests are overwhelmed with the loving support they receive.

Though the task force was started by Marines, it is now an all-service organization. We support veterans from all branches in the community and the guests for Heroes Week also come from all branches. We look forward to hosting our tenth anniversary event from November 9-15. For a schedule of events that are open to the public, please visit the task force web site at www.semperfictf.org which will be updated as required.

Dave Bonwit
Vice Chairman and Heroes Week Co-Coordinator
Semper Fi Community Task Force