Veteran Soldiers Need Help More Than Ever, Farmington Hills Resident Says
Rob Grimaldi volunteers with the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, which hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year Saturday in Novi.
Even though war stories don't lead the news, Michigan's military veterans need more help than ever.
Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund (FWSF) board president Rob Grimaldi, a Farmington Hills resident, says hearing the soldiers' stories got him involved with the Livonia-based nonprofit, which provides direct assistance to Michigan’s military families and veterans.
"To see these heroes in need and still acting like heroes even when the have such tremendous injuries is inspiring," he said.
FWSF, in coordination with Families United and Operation Care Package Michigan, hosts its eighth annual dinner and auction on Saturday at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Grimaldi said the event is the organization's largest fundraiser. Though FWSF is small, with just 20 volunteers, "it's amazing what we accomplish," he added.
Within the past 12 months, the Fund has helped 65 soldiers and their families. Grimaldi sits on the distribution committee, which reviews applications on a weekly basis and can turn around a request for help in seven days. Anywhere from 3-7 soldiers request help every week.
"It could be anything from making a mortgage payment, rent, a car payment to hep with groceries or baby supplies," he said. "It's not always a cash payment."
Grimaldi said the response for this year's annual dinner has been tremendous. About 1,000 people are expected to attend. "People are still passionate about helping their soldiers," he said, "and that's been a great thing to see."
The funds raised have never been needed more than now, Grimaldi said, because organizations like FWSF across the country are seeing record numbers of requests for assistance.
Keynote speaker for Saturday's event will be Don Mann, a former member of SEAL Team Six and, most recently, a trainer of the SEAL Team Six Warriors, who conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden. He will be joined at the event by Miss Michigan Angela Venditti, of Shelby Township, and WDIV’s Chuck Gaidica, who will serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Gaidica will introduce honored veterans from all branches of service, as well as state officials.
With an anticipated attendance of 1,000 guests, the event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River. Tickets are available for $110 per person and can be purchased at the door. Table sponsorships are also available for $1,100.
For more information, or to purchase your tickets, please contact Ann Cornelius at 248-346-5976 or email@example.com. You can also donate to the Fund, or pur a soldier in need in touch with the organization, by visiting fwsf.org.