U.S. Military Personnel Asks Local Residents to Support Local Campaign to Aid the Wounded
WHEELING, W.Va. – May 24, 2006 – Representatives from the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps today called upon Upper Ohio Valley residents to consider making a financial donation to the “We Remember” campaign, which benefits severely wounded military personnel recovering in Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany.
The campaign, announced last week, will raise funds to purchase “comfort items” for the wounded, including socks, T-shirts, sweat pants, jersey shorts, shoes, pillows and other items either not provided or difficult to obtain. The campaign is sponsored by the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation and Main Street Bank, Wheeling.
Local residents can drop off or mail their contribution to Main Street Bank, 2001 Main St., Wheeling, WV 26003. Checks should be payable to: We Remember/Main Street Bank. The campaign is being held in conjunction with the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project (LHCP), Stafford, Va., which purchase the items for the military personnel.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin Floridia and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Justin O’Shaughnessy, both veterans of combat, issued their plea for public support of the campaign during a news conference held at Main Street Bank. The two men currently are assigned to the Armed Forces recruiting office in Wheeling.
Floridia, who served several tours overseas, said that during combat he saw comrades wounded, and waited with them until medical personnel arrive. He said the ordeal, from the initial injury to being treated and evacuated to a field medical operation then to a regular hospital, is extremely traumatic.
“Can you imagine how it makes a wounded solider feel when he or she receives letters or packages? They’re in a hospital far from their military family and their real family back home. It can get lonely and they’re usually spending most of their time in their hospital room. Receiving a letter or package from home is something they will never forget,” explained Floridia, a native of Cranberry, Pa.
“It touches them deeply knowing that they have not been forgotten by the folks back home. The ‘We Remember’ campaign provides a great opportunity for local residents to show them that they still care.”
Floridia, a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, currently is serving as a recruiter in the Wheeling office.
O’Shaughnessy, who participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, said serving his nation is a great personal pleasure and receiving support from “back home” makes it all worthwhile.
“When you’re overseas, anything received reminds us that everyone cares. It’s not so much what they receive, but more that someone took the time to send it that really counts. That’s such a morale booster,” noted O’Shaughnessy.
“Please, any opportunity local residents have, such as this campaign, will have earth-shattering significance to the patients.”
Joseph Allen, WVHTC Foundation vice president and general manager, said the campaign has received a favorable response from the community.
“Shortly after we announced the campaign last Friday, Main Street Bank began receiving donations. Very often these young men and women only have hospital garb and little in the way of other clothing. The campaign will help boost their morale and make them feel more comfortable as they continue their long recovery process,” commented Allen.
Rich Lucas, Main Street Bank president, explained that all donations will be forwarded to the LHCP, which, in turn, will purchase the items needed by the hospitals. He said stickers will be placed on each item purchased signifying it was sent on behalf of the residents of the Upper Ohio Valley.
“It’s such a simple process to stop by our bank and leave a donation or to mail a check to the bank. Regardless of your position on the war, the fact remains that these wounded men and women could really use our support, “ said Lucas.
The LHCP is headed by its president, Karen Grimord, who visited Wheeling last week to help announce the local fund drive. She periodically receives lists of items needed by the wounded from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and the field medical units in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The WVHTC Foundation, headquartered in Fairmont, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization functioning as an engine of economic change for growing a regional and statewide high tech business sector. The foundation has established a multi-
faceted approach to maximize economic development, commercialization and workforce development. In addition to its Fairmont headquarters, it has offices in Wheeling, Moundsville and Glenville.
In addition to its Wheeling location, the Main Street Bank has a branch office in Wellsburg.