NEW YORK, NEW YORK  – March 1st, 2016 – US military non-profit ‘HonorVet.org,’ and UK military campaign ‘The Grand Day Out,’ are joining forces today to enable military veterans and wounded service members from the United States and the United Kingdom to come together to create a new global network that supports military members injured in battle and veterans struggling to assimilate back into life back home.

 

The challenges facing the world’s military in the 21st century have become many and varied, from a new level of terrorist threat launched by the 9/11 attacks, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan to the ISIS attacks across Europe, alongside civil unrest in the Middle East.

 

From the battles of Fallujah and Ramadi in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq to the ferocious fighting in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, forces from the US and UK have been tenaciously fighting side-by-side against a common enemy. However, the toll from these battles is also becoming greater - counted in missing limbs, rising suicide rates, and a staggering increase in traumatic brain injuries caused by devastating roadside bombs. Advances in medicine have also enabled many who may have suffered fatal injuries in the past to have their lives saved, but they return home still requiring considerable mental and physical support.

 

Recognizing the need to once again fight side-by-side for a common cause, HonorVet.org and ‘The Grand Day Out’ have joined arms as a ‘force for good’ to fight against the challenges veterans face when they return back home. This new joint mission is focused on bringing both countries together to share information about best practices, leverage technology to create shared programs that enable better care and support, and to promote cross-Atlantic camaraderie by highlighting heroism displayed by members of both forces through battle and recovery.

 

‘The Grand Day Out’ Founder, Major (Retd) Tim Grantham stated, “There are great charities out there who do a fantastic job, but there are still significant gaps in the support available to injured men and women and their families. We launched The Grand Day Out in 2010 to encourage injured servicemen and women to come together, share their experiences and realize the public support that exists. Last year US Marine Jesse Canella and US Navy medic Ken Swartz joined us at The Open in St. Andrews, Scotland and that has led to the creation of a new partnership to help our Forces in the UK and US.”

 

“Every day 22 more veterans commit suicide in the US, rising numbers of veterans fall into homelessness, and millions more struggle with the reality of a new challenge – returning home to a difficult job market and a backlogged health care system that is often found to be fractured and antiquated,” said HonorVet.org CEO, Jesse Canella, a US Marine & Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. “ All these realities are not only faced by our veterans, but also by our counterparts in the UK. This partnership with the Grand Day Out is critical to ensure we continue to work together outside of these conflicts abroad so that our veterans are prepared and successful in their transition back home. The notion that collaboration and innovation are paramount when it comes to creating meaningful programs – not only this generation, but also the next - is the catalyst for this much needed partnership”

 

 

Honorvet collaborated with Eric Trump and the Eric Trump Foundation to send some American Veterans to St. Andrews for the Open this year to enjoy the tournament and associated events with wounded UK service members.

The group was led by Jesse Canella, Honorvet's Founder and CEO.   Said Jesse:  "UK service members are going through many of the same challenges US veteran are going through and we consider each other brothers.   This was a great opportunity to bring together people that have shared an experience and can learn from each other, while also having a great time to uplift spirits."

Going forward, we want to look at how to collaborate from “across the pond” with the UK to provide more support to our returning veterans and wounded veterans on an ongoing basis.

HonorVet collaborated with an anonymous donor and The Celebrate Freedom Foundation to donate a house to severely wounded Afghanistan Veteran in March 2013.

The City of Giddings and the Giddings Area Chamber of Commerce presented US Marine Corporal Sean Friedrich and his wife Anna with their brand new home at 11:00am on March 2nd at a special ceremony that included representatives from HonorVet.org and The Celebrate Freedom Foundation.  The home then underwent  three and a half months of renovations to be made handicap accessible for Corporal Friedrich, who was severely wounded by multiple IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) while serving in Afghanistan

The legal work to prepare the home for donation was provided by the Law Offices of Thomas G. Amon in New York City with special recognition to Peter Patterson, Esq. who researched and drafted the necessary contracts to insure compliance with the IRS regulations governing charitable donations.  The legal work associated with house closing was donated by Kevin Mutscher, Esq. of Betts Walters & Mutscher, located in Brenham TX.  Through the generosity of those who live and work in Giddings, numerous upgrades to the home were made possible. They include a new roof, plumbing, lighting, furniture and more. The community has been very blessed to have this project and the results have been truly amazing.

Mayor Charlie Brown of Giddings said, “We are honored to welcome the Friedrichs into their new home here in Giddings, Texas. I am so proud of our entire community for their commitment to support our brave veterans. I hope that we as a community can inspire others across the country to do the same."

Donations continue to be accepted to help offset some of the costs. Fischer Langham Custom Builders, based out of Giddings, functioned as project manager for the home renovation. The local Boy Scouts have stepped forward and offered to maintain the Friedrich’s lawn and surrounding landscape.

HonorVet and The Celebrate Freedom Foundation have created a unique model that will allow for follow-on properties to be donated to worthy veterans and their families. It is the hope of all involved that this project, while the first of its kind, will inspire others to donate homes across the State of Texas.  It is their hope that banks – which today have hundreds if not thousands of foreclosed properties depreciating on their books will take advantage of this unique opportunity to help our veterans while gaining much – needed community support.

This donation and the people of Giddings, Texas have created the gold standard by which other communities can model their volunteer efforts toward similar projects. The town of Giddings whose volunteerism and support has provided the Friedrichs with not just a house, but a home and a welcoming community.

Special thanks to all who continue to dedicate time and resources to the project but especially Brian Fischer and Tim Langham, owners of Fischer Langham Custom Home, and Ms. Betty Walker for donating the home to HonorVet.