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Wounded Warrior Resource Center

November 4, 2008
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Defense Department, through Military OneSource, has established a Wounded Warrior Resource Center (WWRC) telephone number and e-mail address. Troops, veterans and their families can call (800) 342-9647 or send a message to wwrc@militaryonesource.com to request support if they have concerns or difficulties during the recovery process. Both methods of contact are operational 24/7.

Patriot Paws Service Dogs

October 30, 2008
By Rita Boland

Patriot Paws trains dogs to work with injured military members and other disabled persons to help restore physical and emotional freedoms. The organization provides high-quality service dogs for the minimum possible price to those who need them. Any physically disabled U.S. veteran or other American with mobile disabilities can apply for a Patriot Paws service dog by downloading the application form online or requesting one by mail. The necessary contact information is listed on the Web site. When an application is accepted, applicants are interviewed, and the organization makes every effort to find a compatible pet. Training the dogs takes 12 to 18 months and costs $20,000, so donations and volunteers are crucial to the program's success. Anyone interested in donating funds can give through the site's PayPal feature or can mail a check to the address listed online. Individuals who want to volunteer with the program can walk and bathe the dogs, run errands, help in the office, arrange fundraisers or round up donations. Foster families for the dogs also are needed. Other site features include donation news, frequently asked questions and an events page. Patriot Paws Service Dogs will raise funds with "Dogwalk in the Park" in Harry Myers Park, Rockwall, Texas, on November 8. The programs listed on these pages are not affiliated with our publication or association. We highlight these independent efforts as a service to our military and our readers. For more information about these programs, please contact the organizations directly.

Gifts to Army

August 19, 2008
By Rita Boland

The overwhelming interest and generosity of the American public toward U.S. soldiers and their families prompted the Army to launch Gifts to Army as a centralized source of information for contribution and support opportunities. The Army Gift Program is an established effort, but an amendment to the law now enables the Army to accept donations that assist wounded soldiers, wounded civilian employees and their families. The goal of Gifts to Army is to answer the frequent question from the public: "What can I do to help?"

Snail Mail by Email with Motomail

July 1, 2008
By Rita Boland

Friends and family members of U.S. Marines deployed to an operational location in Iraq can send their loved ones a message without ever visiting the mailbox. MotoMail aims to bridge gaps in communications between parties who may not have e-mail access or who just want to send a physical letter for a more personal touch. MotoMail, in conjunction with SuperLetter.com Incorporated, operates a Web site that allows users to create a message online that will be downloaded and printed out at a Marine Corps post office then physically delivered to the deployed Marine. MotoMail messages are downloaded at least once a day in the operational theaters, and the organization strives to deliver all letters within 24 hours of printing. The Delivery Status feature enables senders to keep track of their messages through the three delivery stages-Stage 1: received at the MotoMail server; Stage 2: letters downloaded to the MotoMail terminal; and Stage 3: letters have been printed and sent for delivery. The service is provided at no cost. While the service is geared largely toward Marines, troops in other military branches who are collocated with the Marine Corps can receive the mail as well. MotoMail also offers two-way services so troops can send letters back home by creating an account on MotoMail using credit cards. Letters are sent to a regional SuperLetter office determined by the first digit of the destination zip code for printing. Postage is applied, and the mail is placed in the U.S. Postal Service system. Troops can send up to five letters for free, and all additional messages cost 50 cents. Users can create accounts on the Web site as well as find answers to frequently asked questions and other resources.

CharityWorks Partners With Fisher House

June 6, 2008
By Rita Boland

CharityWorks, an organization in the Washington, D.C., area that fundraises for nonprofits, has partnered with Fisher House to raise money for the construction of the new Fisher House at the Washington, D.C., Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The house will have 16,000 square feet and 21 guest suites. The goal is to raise $2 million by the end of September. The selection of Fisher House as this year's charity marks the first time a partner was unanimously selected by the advisory board and membership of CharityWorks. The main fundraising event will be the CharityWorks Dream Ball on September 27 at the National Building Museum. Other funds come from personal and corporate donations. CharityWorks keeps administrative costs to a minimum, and 100 percent of all online donations go to the partner nonprofit. Computer Sciences Corporation is the host sponsor this year, and the chief executive officer of ManTech International and his wife are leading the fundraising campaign. Both organizations have made major contributions, have launched employee giving campaigns and are reaching out to industry peers. Other Honor Guard donors (those who pledge more than $100,000) include BAE Systems, Bearing Point, L-3 Communications, Fisher Brothers, Freddie Mac and Freddie Mac Foundation. CharityWorks also is hosting an invitation-only Housewarming Party for the new Fisher House at the Fisher Houses at Bethesda Naval Station Hospital in an effort to gather items needed for inside the facility. In addition, CharityWorks will have Booth 631 at the AFCEA Joint Warfighting Conference to raise awareness of the campaign for Fisher House and to invite participants to learn more about how they can support the effort.

eMail Our Military

May 20, 2008
By Rita Boland

Members of the public eager to show troop support can do so through eMail Our Military (eMOM). The organization was created in response to the U.S. Defense Department's cancellation of the "Any Service Member" and "Operation Dear Abby" programs because of security concerns. By using e-mail instead of regular post, eMOM offers a secure method to continue the tradition of troop support with an even more personal touch. Military members sign up with the organization and are matched with civilian registrants. eMOM tries to match up correspondents based on age or interests, but because the goal of the program is to provide moral support to all troops who request it, sometimes those matches are not realized. Scout troop leaders can involve their scouts through a special account created for children. The youngsters can include their e-mail address in their signature block if they want to receive reply messages from deployed military members. Scout leaders should register their addresses because they act as guides for the program. All registrations-individual or group-require a one-time fee of $2. In addition to sending e-mails, eMOM offers other ways for civilians to take action for service members, including getting involved in military support projects, sending an e-message of support, purchasing eMOM's online products, promoting the program in a local area or simply telling a friend about the program. Information about these projects is available on the Web site. Just as eMOM is the next generation of soldier letter-writing programs, the organization is using a new breed of networking to spread the word about troop support.

Operation Iraqi Children

May 2, 2008
By Rita Boland

No longer limited to Iraq, this organization assists troops who want to ensure local school children have the educational supplies they need. Founded by actor Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand, Operation Iraqi Children sends supply kits with school items and other necessities overseas for U.S. troops to distribute.

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