Winnefeld, Nonprofit Group Honor Wounded Warriors
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 24, 2012 The military is a family business and there’s no better example of that than the military spouses who formed the Hope for the Warriors non-profit organization, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said here last night.
The vice chairman spoke at the 3rd annual “Got Heart, Give Hope” gala, honoring the courage of wounded service members, their families and the families of fallen troops.
“We’re so proud of you, and we’re so proud of and inspired by, the young men and women you help who’ve given so much of themselves to their country and who are so determined that their sacrifice shall not hold them back,” Winnefeld said. “It really is a privilege to be part of such a great event in such a magnificent venue.”
Winnefeld was joined by Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, vice chief of staff of the Army, actor Gary Sinise, who hosted a portion of the evening, singer Randy Travis, and other celebrities and military officials, as Hope for the Warriors honored selected wounded, ill and injured warriors, and their families.
The nonprofit Hope for the Warriors organization, founded in 2006, focuses on enhancing the quality of life for U.S. service members and their families adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty.
“To the founders and the many military spouses here tonight, who make up this fantastic organization, thank you for what you do,” Winnefeld said. “We’re both married to awesome military spouses -- Charlene Austin and Mary Winnefeld. So Lloyd and I are very familiar with the greatness that lies in the heart of so many military spouses. And the founders of Hope for the Warriors, a group of military spouses themselves, are exhibit A.”
The vice chairman said earlier this month he and his wife, Mary, were “privileged” to see the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“There we watched, with thousands of others, as 200 amazing wounded warriors proved that there’s no challenge too great, no hurdle too difficult for these determined, young men and women,” Winnefeld said. “They, like the honorees, are bright and shining examples of the power of hope and determination.”
“They remind us of what greatness really is,” he added. “When one of us has a bad day, all we have to do is think about one of these remarkable young men and women. They also give hope and strength to those who are just beginning the difficult journey of recovery.”
Winnefeld said the evening gala also honored the caregivers, who are “unsung heroes” that spend countless hours unselfishly giving to those who have sacrificed and are now in need.
“It’s hard to find words to describe these remarkable people -- these caregivers,” he said. “We can only find them, support them, thank them and be inspired by them as well.”
Winnefeld noted the nation will pause during Memorial Day weekend to remember the service and sacrifice of the fallen, and their families who remain behind.
“We owe all of these men and women -- those who have selflessly worn the cloth of our nation in a decade of war, and those who have stood behind them, a debt of gratitude,” he said.
“We also owe a debt of gratitude to the many champions of our men and women in uniform,” Winnefeld added, “[the] people who understand the price the freedom, and who want to give back to those who have sacrificed to preserve it. They are everywhere.”
The vice chairman commended public officials, celebrities, corporations and private organizations for providing opportunities to support troops like Hope for the Warriors.
“You didn’t have to do any of this, and we know it,” Winnefeld said. “But you’re making a huge difference.”