I am writing to tell you about what my post has started and been recognized for by Gen. Martin E Dempsey, 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On July 28, 2012, we held a concert to benefit our wounded warriors. We had eight bands that performed from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. We flew in a wounded warrior from the hospital at Fort Belvoir to be our guest of honor! We escorted him from the airport to the event with Patriot Guard riders, Legion Riders, Corvette Club, National Guard, city, town, county and state police departments, and we were able to donate $5,500 to NY Warrior Alliance.
This year, on July 27, we had 10 bands. We started our day at the local Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I used this opportunity to have a ceremony to tie the sacrifices of our military past and present. We had three wounded warriors as our guests of honor. The Vietnam Veterans of America had their honor guard present colors at the ceremony. The path leading to the memorial was lined with people waiting to honor our wounded warriors. We even had a 9-year-old "Young Marine" from North Carolina participate. We escorted our guests of honor in a Mustang and the Corvettes led by the Patriot Guard Riders, Legion Riders, Chrome Divas, Army Recruiters Corvette Club Of Rochester, and city, town, county and state police departments. Along the route there were local fire departments stationed on the overpasses with the firemen standing at attention, and some had ladder truck with their ladders extended flying the American flag. Upon our arrival at the post we were met by hundreds of supporters and two ladder trucks, ladders extended and a huge American flag. Our event started at 11:45 and was well-attended, including the chief Of police for the Town of Greece; the county executive, Maggie Brooks, and Sen. Joseph Robach. The Legion presented the director of the Monroe County Airport with a certificate of appreciation for all that they do to accommodate the families of returning military and the groups that show up to greet them. Gifts were presented to our guests of honor and words of thanks were expressed! Then I was presented with the framed letter from the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with his challenge coin. Our American Legion post from this small community has been recognized for MAKING A DIFFERENCE! We ended up raising $10,500 for NY Warrior Alliance this year! Plus we were able to pay for the flight and travel expenses for Cody Coopenberg and his wife and son. Cody is being treated in San Antonio for severe burns he received while serving in Afghanistan.
New York Warrior Alliance (NYWA) was founded in Rochester, N.Y. by Amy Tausch. Amy's brother, Lt. James Lechner, was badly injured in the Battle of Mogadishu. She knows firsthand what the wounded warriors and their families go through in the days, weeks, months and years after their loved one is injured. This eventually led her to start her charity in 2008 with the mission of supporting wounded military personnel and their caregivers. The NYWA makes annual trips to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with supplies and has grown to a yearlong effort of continued support. The NYWA collaborates with local organizations to spread support and awareness of our military's needs.