America Supports You: Company Pledges $1.25M for Military Families
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2004 A power tool company has pledged more than $1 million over five years to help fund a Veterans of Foreign Wars-sponsored initiative designed to help military families in need.
Vermont American Power Tool Accessories, a subsidiary of Robert Bosch Tool Corporation, will provide $250,000 per year for the next five years to help fund the "Unmet Needs Program," according to VFW Foundation senior administrator Rufus L. Forrest Jr.
The six-month-old initiative is co-sponsored and administered by the VFW Foundation, noted Forrest, who is also a brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve.
Vermont American, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., will also donate a percentage of its sales to Unmet Needs, Forrest said.
The program, Forrest explained, is designed to address "critical and immediate needs" of military families that fall between existing assistance programs.
Today about 350 families have requested assistance through Unmet Needs, Forrest said, noting that more than $100,000 has been distributed to about 70 military families.
Forrest noted that families of active, Guard and reserve servicemembers are eligible for Unmet Needs assistance. Recipients have used Unmet Needs-furnished funds to pay for utilities, food, and other urgent family needs "that sometimes pop up" when military members are deployed for duty, he said.
Glitches and delays in the receipt of Guard and reserve pay, Forrest observed, sometimes cause financial duress for deployed servicemembers' families. The Unmet Needs program, he noted, has also referred military families to existing military and public-assistance agencies.
Actor and ex-Marine R. Lee Ermey is the spokesman for the Unmet Needs Program, Forrest said. Ermey, who served in Vietnam, portrayed military men in "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket," and other war films.
The VFW, Forrest noted, is the largest contributor of new clothes, including tennis shoes and warm-up suits, to troops being treated at the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
Also, VFW member and Vietnam veteran Hal Koster, co-owner of Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., treats injured servicemembers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., to free weekly dinners.