Much-Needed Help to Military Families
Back in 2003, some guys sat around a kitchen table and hatched an idea to bring together two major factors in this community: golf and the military.
From that little acorn has grown a healthy oak known as the Patriot Foundation. Largely the brainchild of Chuck Deleot, a retired U.S. Navy captain, the foundation stages an annual golf tournament to raise money to assist military spouses and children — and, more recently, wounded warriors themselves.
The first such event eight years ago raised $10,000. Now the program has grown by such leaps and bounds that Gen. Ray Odierno, whose job as the U.S. Army chief of staff makes him the country’s highest-ranking soldier, came to Moore County to help distribute checks totaling $500,000 to five charities at Fort Bragg.
“We support the families of killed, wounded and injured,” Deleot said of last Friday’s Soldiers Appreciation Dinner at The National Golf Club. “To my way of thinking, the soldier that comes back with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and drives his car into a tree is just as much a hero.”
As long as he was in town, Odierno made a point of directing particularly high praise toward an Aberdeen soldier, Lawrence K. Wilson, who served as command sergeant major on Odierno’s staff in Iraq. Wilson, he said, “has the respect of all the soldiers that work for him. ... He’s dedicated himself to the Army and to his country and has done a tremendous job.”
Members of the armed forces of the United States have generally done a tremendous job during the past decade — in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever else they have been sent. In a great many cases, the families of those warriors remain among us here in Moore County. They need and deserve all the help and encouragement this community can provide them — as do those who return from the battle zones injured in body and spirit.
This splendid annual event, for which Chuck Deleot and other organizers and participants deserve the highest praise, serves as a valuable reminder of the magnitude of the needs felt by the military families in our midst.
In many cases, those needs last a lifetime. The patriots who have made such sacrifices need to know that the rest of us stand ready to provide all the help and support we can muster — not just on one night of the year but all around the calendar.
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