View Full Version : Wounded Marines to be honored

10-27-08, 09:15 AM
Wounded Marines to be honored
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Times Staff Writer victoria.cumbow@htimes.com

Semper Fi Task Force brings injured vets here for Heroes Weekend

The Semper Fi Community Task Force is bringing wounded warriors to Huntsville Nov. 7-11 to show appreciation for their sacrifices.

For the second year, the task force - with support from the Veterans Coalition, the Huntsville Track Club and Still Serving Veterans - plans a long weekend for Marines who have been wounded in combat.

"We wanted to honor the returning veterans," said task force member Joe Bongiovanni. "We wanted to make sure they would have the recognition and know our community is appreciative of their sacrifices and the sacrifices their family made."

To make the 2008 Heroes Weekend special for these wounded veterans, the task force needs a little more help.

"We need donations. We need funds," Bongiovanni said, noting that Semper Fi "is made up strictly of volunteers."

Last year, the Heroes Weekend sponsored 17 U.S. Marines, and this year, that number has nearly doubled to 31 - 23 wounded veterans and eight family members.

The task force is a nonprofit group and any donation is tax deductible.

Donations can be made online at www.sfctf.org or at any area Wachovia bank office.

The agenda this year includes a 5K Hero's Run, the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, a comedy show, a fishing tournament and a career counseling session.

"These kids are guarded, but after they've been here for a few days, they really appreciate it," Bongiovanni said. "They're changed people."

He said one young man last year was asked what he got out of this weekend, and his answer was one word: "'Validation.'"

Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank Libutti, a task force member, said Huntsvillians did a great job last year and he hopes for the same this year.

"They show their appreciation for what these young men and women have done for their country," he said. "The people in Huntsville, because of the patriotic attitude here, it's a normal and natural thing.

"They love people who serve their country. They will reach out and demonstrate their appreciation."

The veterans also will be participating in Huntsville's Veteran's Day Parade on Tuesday, Nov. 11.