Ocean Reef Military Assitance Fund Makes Final Gifts
In 2007, Al Mast and Leonard Wood both had sons serving in the military in the Middle East as a result of 9/11 and the war on terror, which continues to this day. They knew Ocean Reef to be a patriotic community and hoped it would support an effort to raise money for those veterans who were returning from combat duty with unmet needs due to severe injuries. Ocean Reef, as it has done time and again, rose to the occasion and numerous donations were received.
They had extensive deliberations and decided to use the funds to serve those most in need — soldiers who had suffered traumatic injuries whose many needs were going unmet. Over the years, they found a number of ways to support these veterans. Funds were provided for specialized wheelchairs, specialized vehicles, and user-friendly custom homes.
It’s been a fun and exciting 10+ years for Al and Leonard in both raising funds and figuring out how to help those most in need. However, they now feel this journey winding down, believing it time to make the final gifts and wind up operations on a high note.
For the final gifts, they settled on the SHARE Initiative at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation. The Shepherd’s Center SHARE Military Initiative is comprehensive rehabilitative care for US service members who suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). SHARE provides the resources and tools to eliminate and reduce symptoms of these injuries and successfully return our veterans to their homes, families and communities. The initiative also provides medical care, pain management and other specialized services. The program can serve up to 20 clients at a time thru a 12-week program. Finally, graduates continue to work with a case manager to ensure they stay on track towards recovering. The program has been highly successful. Statistics show that every day, 22 American veterans commit suicide. To date, no veteran that has been thru SHARE’s 12-week program has committed suicide. An amazing record! It costs $35,000 to put each veteran thru the SHARE program and the Shepherd Center receives little compensation other than from donor funds. A significant amount of funding for the program is raised by “Shepherd’s Men” who do a number of runs each year to raise money for the program. The Ocean Reef Military Assistance Fund has provided $105,000 to the SHARE Initiative to underwrite the full cost of treating three veterans.
An additional $70,000 went to the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation to help them fulfill their mission of “educating the children of parents who have sacrificed all.” Thanks to their many generous donors, MC-LEF currently establishes a $35,000 educational account for every child who loses a parent serving in the United States Marine Corps or federal law enforcement agencies. The Ocean Reef Military Assistance Fund gift of $70,000 was recently awarded to the two minor children of Lt. Col. Robert Todd Sweginnis, USMC after his tragic death at the age of 47. MC-LEF has been there for families many times over the years. For example, it awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to dependents of victims as a result of the attack on the USS Cole. Since its founding in 1977, MC-LEF has made over $77 million in awards, and substantially all of its work has been accomplished by unpaid volunteers.
As this will be the final report, Al Mast and Leonard Wood want to thank all of those who have supported their efforts over the years to help severely injured veterans and their families. Your gifts have made a difference and they appreciate your support. Thank you.