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    Fundraiser held for MCBH wounded warriors

    Fundraiser held for MCBH wounded warriors

    Photo By Cpl. Harley Thomas | Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, now a military historian, television host...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Harley Thomas 

    Marine Corps Base Hawaii

    MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Military and community members gathered for a Friends of Windward Wounded Warriors fundraiser and reception with retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North at The Officers’ Club aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Aug. 8, 2015.

    The reception, sponsored by the Honolulu Navy League, raised money for Wounded Warrior Battalion West-Detachment Hawaii and doubled as a professional military education opportunity about an important figure in the Marine Corps.

    “In the past 14 years, across all branches of the armed forces, we’ve had nearly 40,000 service members who have been grievously wounded,” said North, a San Antonio native. “Through the Wounded Warrior Regiment, the care they get in our military hospitals is second to none — I know because I have both visited and been a patient in them — and they are given the opportunity to keep company with those with whom they were wounded.”

    North, now a military historian and television host with Fox News, said it’s important for the wounded warriors to spend time with each other because those whom one keeps company with often defines who they are.

    “One of the greatest privileges we have is that, for the rest of our lives, we can say, ‘I am a United States Marine,’” North said. “I think we are certainly defined by those whom we have kept company with in the past and those who we will keep company with in the future. There is no such thing as a ‘former Marine,’ and everything you learn from or endure through will serve you well in life. We all say ‘Semper Fidelis’ to one another, but it is more than a slogan. ‘Always faithful’ becomes a way of life and that phrase is important in everything we do. When I was young, that lesson had been pressed into me by great Marines and I have been blessed to be able to keep company with guys like that all my life.”

    North said despite their injuries, Marines are able to connect with one another because of their past experiences and what the program had done for them. He also said he hopes his message is one of encouragement to those who have been injured and to the families who are trying to be strong through transition or therapy, which can, and often does, last for years.

    “It’s always great seeing service members recover,” North said. “I remember when my Navy corpsman saved my life in Vietnam, he himself being grievously wounded. He came back to the states, recovered, became a college student, went back into the Navy as a medical officer and he is still treating wounded warriors. Getting over a serious injury is never easy, and to see the way people work at it in hospitals, going through rehab and treatments, is very encouraging.”

    Chaplain Steven Jensen, a Navy veteran and Navy League liaison for the detachment, said nobody ever dreams of becoming a wounded warrior.

    “For most people, it’s the end of a dream or career,” said Jensen, of Kailua, Hawaii. “For some, with some help and a lot of hard work, there’s a chance of returning to active duty, but that percentage is small. By having people such as Lt. Col. North or our non-governmental organizations, we are able to provide our wounded warriors with many different resources.”

    Jensen said North often works with the Wounded Warrior Regiment in Quantico, Va., and uses his own nonprofit organization to provide a number of things for the wounded warriors, ranging from hunting trips to job interviews.

    “North certainly loves his Marines and, being a Purple Heart recipient himself, fully understands many of the challenges they face,” Jensen said. “He wanted to talk with them individually to motivate and encourage them. I appreciated North’s willingness to do this despite his busy schedule and to be so accommodating and forthright with everyone.”

    Jensen said the stories North told of his own experiences were very insightful and everyone who approached him got his full attention.

    “North is certainly still a leader of Marines, even after his retirement, and he is one who will do anything to support them,” he said. “He has life experience, dealing with difficult and dangerous circumstances, and he has physically fought to defend the country against a variety of enemies. He continues to put himself in harm’s way, going to Iraq and Afghanistan to see our service members and let them know someone cares about them. He is living proof that you can’t surround yourself with those kinds of people if you aren’t willing to do the difficult and sometimes heroic things they have done.”

    Jensen said he hopes his Marines know there is very little he wouldn’t do for them. He said once they become civilians, they will still be his Marines and they will always have the full support of him and the community.

    “Wherever there are wounded warrior (facilities), there are people in the community who continue to go out of their way to do what they can for our troops,” Jensen said. “While places like Pendleton, Lejeune or Quantico have many more (opportunities) available to them, the people of Hawaii continue to show their sense of aloha in ways that really do make a difference and (this) reception was just a taste of that.”



    Date Taken: 08.08.2015
    Date Posted: 08.12.2015 16:48
    Story ID: 172838

    Web Views: 126
    Downloads: 1