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“I need a brother…” January 27, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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jasonWithin my very tight knit community of Recon Marines, Scout/Snipers and SARCS, these are words you never want to hear and, at the same time, wish you would hear more often.  It is not uncommon to see a request in a Facebook post or get a text that says simply: “I need a brother…”  When these words are passed,  dozens, if not scores of Marines and Sailors drop what they are doing and reach out to take care of the one in need.  Sometimes it is just someone to talk with…sometimes it is more.  It doesn’t matter.  Responding to these simple words may mean the difference between life and death.

Last weekend another Marine in our very small group took his own life.  This has happened far to frequently for a group of our size and has become far too common.  It is estimated that 22 veterans per day commit suicide.  Whether accurate or not what I do know is that within our group we are losing far too many brothers to ignore.  Even when their life is not in danger, these veterans have often sacrificed physically,  emotionally, and personally in service to their nation.  The desire to help Marines (and their families)in times of need led to the formation of charitable groups such as the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation, the Recon & Sniper Foundation, and The Raider Project.

I read with dismay a CBS report detailing how the Wounded Warrior Project spends its money.   According to the report only 60% of charitable giving goes to help veterans.  Last  year alone they received over $300 million in donations through aggressive marketing that includes various celebrities to include Trace Adkins and others.  Rumors of WWP’s activities have circulated within the veteran communities for years with some claiming that they spend less than 52% of donations on veterans.  By contrast the Disabled Americans Veterans Trust (DAV) spends 96% of charity on vets.  At least some of their money goes to filing lawsuits against smaller charities claiming “unfair competition”.  According to the Daily Beast, at least 7 different charities have been sued.

If you are so moved I would encourage you to look for ways to help our veterans.  While the larger, more prominent charities such as WWP may spend more on marketing and celebrity endorsements, I cannot think of a single time that a WWP representive responded when we heard a Marine say “I need a brother…”.  Most frequently, it is those charities more closely aligned with the actual veterans that can provide the greatest services.  Granted, the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation will not fund a Ski Trip like the WWP but they will ensure that the family of a fallen Marine’s family has food on their table. The R&S Foundation may not take veterans on Kodiak Fishing trips like the WWP but they will ensure that a veteran can pay his mortgage in a lean month.  They will ensure a veteran can get to the VA for an appointment and can help with medical bills when a brother’s wife is in an automobile accident.

Most of our Wounded Veterans don’t need fishing trips and ski vacations.  Most of them need emotional support, and help when life does what life does best….throws a curve ball.  Recently, a Marine brother’s wife was severely injured by a hit and run driver. Other Recon & Sniper brothers in the community stepped up to help.  This is the type of charity that helps.  Again, if so moved, please consider giving.  While giving time, money, energy, or skills to any charity is appreciated, I would encourage you to consider the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation, the Recon & Sniper Foundation, and The Raider Project.

Picture by Straight8 Custom Photography….a Recon Marine’s business.

Comments»

1. Mike Carmichael - February 7, 2016

Marc, I enjoy your articles and appreciate the light you help shed on to such matters. I was a 2/5 Scout Sniper. I attended SOTG and deployed with you to Somalia. I’m 99.9999% sure that you don’t remember me or members of my platoon. I’m in law enforcement now & I can tell you that we deal with a high number of Vets suffering from PTSD. By the end of a call or the end of the day, I have to take a deep breath and put my emotions in-check because it hurts so bad to see someone suffering. Last summer I ran into a former Marine that suffers from PTSD and brain damage. This was like a knife to my heart because when he was a kid, I helped keep an eye on him while his father hit the bottle. They need our help, but I can tell you that we need more brothers to step up because seeing this as a first responder takes its toll on us.

Thank you Sir!!!

Semper Fi

Chris Mark - February 7, 2016

Thanks for reaching out Brother! I apologize but I don’t remember. Name is familiar but not the face. Thanks for sharing your story. Too many people forget that PTSD is not solely the domain of the military. Thanks again!


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