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thedrifter
01-02-08, 10:51 AM
Wounded Warrior program sends 120 military home for holidays
By Matt Tessnear
Sun Journal Staff
January 1, 2008 - 11:03PM

More than 100 military personnel spent Christmas with their families because of the Wounded Warrior Leave Program.

People from across the country donated a total of $173,000 to the program.

Program officials used the money to buy plane tickets for 66 Marines from Camp Lejeune, 50 soldiers from Fort Bragg’s Warrior Transition Battalion and Womack Army Hospital and four sailors, according to a press announcement from the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The organization supports the Wounded Warrior program.

Donations for the tickets came from all parts of the country, including Washington and California, said Steve Tyson, chairman for the program.

“Most of it came from Eastern North Carolina,” Tyson said. “I think that it shows that, regardless of how one might feel about the war in Iraq, there’s no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the people in Eastern North Carolina support their troops and want to get them home for Christmas.”

Tyson said many of the donations came from residents of South Carolina. A woman from Virginia Beach, Va., sent a $2,000 donation.

“She said she didn’t know anything about the Wounded Warrior program, but she just trusted we’d put the money in the right place,” Tyson said.

A lot of people gave money at a fund-raising event Dec. 11 at New Bern Golf and Country Club.

“We had a large crowd there, and the Marines were happy to see that people care about them,” Tyson said. “Some of the tickets this time of year are particularly expensive. If you’re from Washington state and need to get home the week of Christmas, it gets expensive.”

Tyson started the leave program in 2006. He said the program will continue in 2008.

“If it’s needed, we will,” he said. “We’ll have some money left over this year for it.”