The Holidays are a time to gather with friends and family however, many of our brave service men and women don’t have the opportunity to be with their families or have a support system in place to help them get through tough times, when returning home combat wounded, critically ill or catastrophically injured. That’s where the wonderful organization Semper Fi Fund comes in.
The organization was founded in 2003 by Karen Guenther, (pictured on the left). Karen, a registered nurse and caregiver by nature, saw first hand the challenges faced by wounded Marines and other service members when returning home from Iraq.
She, along with a dedicated group of military spouses (Annette Conway, Sondria Saylor, Helen Toolan, and Karen Kelly) began to organize welcome home activities at the hospital. They arranged travel for family members who couldn’t afford airfare, assembled and distributed care bags filled with toiletries, phone cards, etc. And still, the injured kept coming.
Realizing that a growing number of families across the nation were facing similar situations, Karen assembled a dynamic team to expand the initial efforts to become a nationwide nonprofit so that wounded, critically ill and injured service members and their families would never be alone or forgotten. The mission was clear: to provide critically injured and ill service members with immediate financial aid and quality of life solutions to lift the burdens of their new reality, so that each family could focus on their loved one’s recovery.
The group’s first official headquarters was Karen’s kitchen table. A few giving women sat around the table and each contributed from their private account, totaling $500, starting a grassroots campaign that today, is a 4-star Charity Navigator top-rated non-profit that grants 92% of its funds to its programs. Since establishing the Semper Fi Fund in 2004, they have issued 153,000 grants, totaling more than $161 million in assistance to over 20,000 heroes and their families.
In 2009, the Fund commissioned Beacon Design by ChemArt to create an ornament that would be given to the service members that the Semper Fi Fund serves. As a veteran owned company, making products that are 100% handcrafted in the United States, we could not be more thrilled to play a role, in providing joy to service members and their families. Our partnership is in its ninth year and we look forward to many more! Beacon Design a division of the ChemArt Company, has been working with non-profits across the Nation to create uniquely handcrafted keepsakes, for over four decades. Our founder, Richard Beaupre, is a proud veteran of the US Navy.
Each year the Fund organizes an Annual Holiday Ornament Packing Party to get the ornaments ready to distribute to the tens of thousands of wounded, ill and injured service members. Over two hundred volunteers from ages five to ninety-five gather to package fourteen thousand Christmas ornaments for delivery in early December.
“The ornament lets our service members know that someone is thinking about them during the holidays and that they have a family who is watching out for them,” said Jo Ann Dinwoodie, Director of Marketing for the Semper Fi Fund.
The annual tradition has certainly had an impact and it shows, as many service members reach out to the Fund through their Twitter, Facebook and other social channels with words of thanks and appreciation! Here are just a few of the messages they have received.
Also, to find out more about how Beacon Design can help you raise funds, commemorate a special event, increase revenue or exposure, visit us here!
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