Two wounded Marines are being aided in their recovery with new iPad minis, thanks to The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors .
Cpl. Daniel Stewart and Lance Cpl. Tyler Walters are hospitalized in the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Stewart suffered a traumatic brain injury from an IED blast in Fallujah, Iraq, in August 2005. Walters was wounded by small arms fire on June 12, 2010, in Marja, Afghanistan. His leg could not be saved and had to be amputated.
As the Department of Minnesota's OCW/Heroes to Hometowns coordinator, Jeremy Wolfsteller works with military liaisons to determine needs for wounded servicemembers. In this case, he worked with the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment liaison, learning about the recovering Marines and finding out assistance they needed.
"I work with the polytrauma unit quite often," said Wolfsteller, who also is a department service officer. "We see a lot of the OIF/OEF vets transferred here from the bigger facilities, like Bethesda, and look for ways that they can be helped by Operation Comfort Warriors and Heroes to Hometowns. I reach out to any of our wounded in our polytrauma unit and speak with their liaisons. They (the two Marines) had a lot of time here, multiple weeks. If it were me, I know I would prefer something to take my mind off my leg being amputated.
"The iPad minis will be used basically to boost their morale while undergoing physical therapy and treatment at the polytrauma unit."
Wolfsteller contacted The American Legion National Headquarters and the OCW donation was set in motion. One hundred percent of donations to OCW go toward providing supplementary recreational and entertainment items for recovering warriors as they rehab and transition back to civilian life.
The gifts brightened the day for both Stewart and Walters.
"They were both very thankful, and we're teaching them how to use the devices," Wolfsteller said. "They were very surprised. They were like, ‘We just met and you're giving me a $400 device from The American Legion?' That's a part of being with The American Legion and part of this program: to take care of our wounded warriors.
"They were both very thankful and very excited to play around with the iPads."