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Driving for Wounded Warriors

CUT: Photo courtesy/ Angela Langdon Vivian Dietrich, president of the DC Metro Chapter of Operations Homefront and Bill McFadden, chairperson of the chapter pose for a photo at the sixth annual Wounded Warriors Golf Tournament at River Creek Club in Lansdowne. A foursome of golfers look on in the background.

Operations Homefront (OH) in collaboration with Wounded Warriors had their sixth annual Booz Allen Hamilton sponsored golf tournament at the River Creek Club on April 29. Some 105 golfers braved the sporadic rain on behalf of OH to generate support for needy military families.

The president of the DC Metro chapter, Vivian Dietrich and its chairperson, Bill McFadden, both live in River Creek. Jim Knotts, CEO of Operations Homefront, was also on hand.

“We are very community based, not political, not stressful. It serves to connect with the general public. People want to know how they can help," Dietrich said.

Knotts talked about their biggest challenge.

“After the deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American people tend to think our troops no longer need our support," Knotts said. He went on to explain that food, rent and utilities have been the major difficulties for military families.

Knotts explained that families can apply online for financial aid and after their vetting if it’s a problem with rent, then OH pays the money directly to the landlord. He cited a case where a family notified them on a Friday, that if they couldn’t pay the rent by Monday they would be evicted. Sometimes, Dietrich said, the urgency is so imposing that OH must short circuit the bureaucratic exercise.

Their resources, he said, consist of staff whose members work up to 60 or 70 hours a week; 500 volunteers; military sponsors; and public donations from corporations and foundations. McFadden estimates they have made around $750,000 in the six golf tournaments.

He indicated the April 29 event included 15 Wounded Warriors. One of them, David Cook, who lost his leg in Afghanistan, simply enjoys the outing. The tournament was his fourth time to participate.

“It’s a wonderful golf tournament for a good cause," Cook said.

The speaker at the dinner was 28-year-old David Bexler who, along with his wife, relies on OH since he lives in an Operations Homefront Village in Gaithersburg. He served one tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, where he lost both of his legs.

“The Village gives us stability, space to grow and expand; to learn how to be a civilian again,” Bexler said.

Bexler has extensive experience with websites and associated technology and works as an intern for Booz Allen Hamilton.

“I hope to very soon become a paid employee," he said.


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