Warrior Foundation Aids Wounded Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2007 - With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan underway, the San Diego-area community was looking for ways to help wounded servicemembers returning to the area. So in 2004, community members started the Warrior Foundation, an organization that reaches out to wounded troops and their families.

The Warrior Foundation, a subset of the San Diego Council, Navy League of the United States, began as an effort to get touch-activated electric razors to those with shoulder, arm, and hand injuries to make shaving easier, Jim Bedinger, the foundation's treasurer, said. San Diego radio talk-show personality Rick Roberts of KFMB caught wind of the effort and thought it was a good way to get his listeners involved. "The community responded in terms of over $50,000 in one hour," Bedinger said.

Since then, the foundation's mission has grown and it now holds fundraising events and collects donated items for wounded troops, among other things.

The Warrior Foundation is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting the ways Americans are supporting the nation's servicemembers.

The foundation has also worked to bring wounded troops and their families together for the holidays.

"In 2005 ... we got the idea that we could send all the 38-45 wounded (servicemembers) ... home if we could get $30,000-$40,000 donated," Bedinger said.

Again, Rick Roberts, whose radio station maintains the Warrior Foundation Web site, turned to his listeners. "We had over $70,000 (donated)," Bedinger said. "That's to send a (servicemember) home so on Christmas morning he can wake up in his own bed, in his own home, surrounded by his family and friends."

This year, the San Diego community donated about $190,000 to send wounded servicemembers who were able to travel home for Christmas, he said.

Through donations, the foundation provides needed personal and entertainment items for wounded servicemembers in the San Diego and Camp Pendleton areas, Bedinger said. "It sounds so silly," he said. "But a bar of soap, a washcloth and a really nice terry cloth towel (make a huge difference.)"

[Web Version:]