KAKE ABC News
By: Gloria Balding
Feb 04, 2016
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KAKE) — A small non-profit group helping servicemen and women in Kansas fears they may be shut down.
Tom Tavtigian returned home a broken man after being wounded in combat.
He founded the group Wounded Warriors United as a way to help veterans like himself who were struggling.
"While I was still stationed at Fort Riley in the warrior transition unit, where all the wounded guys go, I started to take a few guys out here and there and the response was pretty good. So, I started a non-profit." explains Tavtigian.
Wounded Warriors United focuses on taking veterans on hunting and fishing trips. Tavtigian hopes to expand.
"What we are doing next year is the guys that need the grab bars, or need to widen their doors for their wheelchairs, we are going to do it for them," says Tavtigian.
Tavtigian is concerned that Wounded Warrior Project could come after him for using the term 'wounded warriors." because they have done it before. A search of federal court records show the Wounded Warrior Project has sued three non-profits for trademark infringement in the past. In one complaint WWP noted that "defendant's infringement of WWP's trademark rights has caused defendant monetary harm." It is wording like this from such a large non-profit that concerns Tavtigian.
WWP does not make money solely from donations or investments. According to tax filings they have made more than 3 million dollars since 2009 by renting their mailing list.
read more here
This all leaves me wondering how much money I'd have right now if I was ever in any of this for the money? Good Lord!
I was using the term "wounded warriors" long before this group became a famous name. The truth is I was simply tired of using wounded Soldier, Marine, Airmen and Sailor. The Native Americans used it long before I did. But it goes to show that just because someone makes something famous, it isn't as if they invented it or can claim ownership of it against all others.
This is from my site December 2005
This one really sums up what this is all about. It is from January 2006. Long before I ever heard of this famous group but far too many years after I knew what it was like living with a Wounded Warrior.
The men and women of our military should never have to go to war, but they do.
They should never have to heal wounds, but they do. They should never have to watch a comrade die, but they do. They should never have to worry about a place to call home when they are warriors no more, but they do. On any given night in America, thousands of those who answered the call of this nation, walk the streets because they are homeless.
Our nation has forgotten them when their duty is done and we as a people refuse to see them. The people who run the New England Shelter For Homeless Veterans in Boston, MA refuse to let them remain alone. They are there when the rest of us forget them. They are there to give them a bed to sleep in, a meal to feed them, comfort and support when we have all forgotten them. There are homeless veterans in this nation with half a million at one time or another become homeless during any given year and over a quarter of a million of them are homeless every night. Men who made a choice to protect and serve this nation, walk the streets while we still remain safe in our beds. As bad as that is that one veteran would be homeless, there are also women who served and are homeless. Even more, there are women veterans of this nation with children and no place to call home.
Check out your state and see how many there are in your state alone. Go to The National homeless veterans site. Check out the shelter's site in Boston MA. If you are not moved to help them, then may God have mercy on this nation that asked so much of them yet was willing to do so little for them in return.
'Marlboro Man' in Iraq War Photo Suffers from PTSD So whatever happened to Lance Cpl. Blake Miller -- the U.S. Marine pictured as a kind of war-weary "Marlboro Man" in one of the most widely published iconic images of the Iraq war? The 2004 photograph by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times showing Miller, face dirty under a helmet, a cigarette dangling from his lips, went around the world and back again, hitting front pages everywhere. Now Miller, of Jonancy, Ky., is a civilian "and is having trouble adjusting to civilian life," CBS News reports.From New York Times
Why is it so hard for other veterans to accept that PTSD is real? Is it because somewhere deep inside they see the possibility of it existing within themselves? I must have heard it a thousand times in the last twenty years. Veterans attacking other veterans because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They will claim PTSD is not real and label those with it as frauds. No about of scientific evidence, no amount of clinical studies and no amount of suicides resulting from PTSD will ever be enough to penetrate their brains. They are the kind of people who live in a state of disgust toward anyone, civilian or military, living with what they fear the most. It could have been them.
When you look at the pictures of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, among the carved names, there are many more names which Vietnam claimed the lives of. Forty years after the official start of America's entry into the conflict in 1964, Vietnam is still taking lives from PTSD and suicides as well as Agent Orange. Yet this is the timeline of death.
This is the list of the years the troops died in Vietnam. Look at the years and then remember the attitude of those who failed to see the futility of staying the course.
1973 168 The last two Marines were killed in April of this year.
Numbers were added after as follows
1975 160 The last two Marines died in Vietnam in April.
The total is 58,178
The Wall is finding more names added to it. One count put the figure at 58,249, although I do not know the exact numbers as of today. Within the reflection of the Wall there are faces to each name of the lives lost. There are also many more who paid with their lives who will never be known. Men like my husband's nephew who took his own life because of PTSD are not there.
Too many are gone and the connection to Vietnam were never made in the minds of the families these men left behind. Yet to some veterans these of the fallen are not to be honored for the price they paid to serve the nation in Vietnam.
The faces of the homeless veterans are a reminder of the suffering in silence and isolation. Are they too unworthy of honor because Vietnam so changed their state of being they are unable to stop the invasion of their mind and remove the traumatic results?
This Wall should be a reminder to the nation that the price paid for war by those sent to fight it, do not end when the pieces of paper are signed and they get to go home. It does not end for the families when their son or daughter, husband or wife, parent or child, are no longer there to be held. It does not end for the veterans with wounds of their body or unseen wounds of the mind or for the families of those left wondering when the war will ever end for them.
In 2002 when I finished my book the sub title was, His War/My Battle for this very reason. He is the one who put his life on the line, as all others did, by choice of volunteering as my husband did, or by draft as so many others did. The war has yet to be finished for him. This is the battle he fights on a daily basis to try to keep up with his medication and treatment. Vietnam became my battle when I had to fight for him because he couldn't fight for himself.
War reaches out to total strangers years after. I didn't know him when he was in Vietnam. We didn't meet until ten years after he returned home. Yet my life changed because of Vietnam when I lost my best friend because of it. 500,000 other families are just like mine. The truly sickening part is that the number is even higher because too many other families never knew what was wrong with their family member, were never diagnosed and never had their claim approved to be recorded within the VA system.
Today there is a chance to stop the procession of suffering in silence for this new generation of veterans and wounded warriors. The chance is for the rest of us to stand up and tell the others who want to dismiss PTSD to either start supporting other wounded warriors or shut up and get out of their way. The time for needlessly adding to the death count of Vietnam is over. This new generation needs to see an example of what true support really means. Until we take a stand for the dignity of all veterans, too many of them will end up never really being supported or honored for their sacrifices.
How can anyone stand and say they support the troops when any of them have to go without treatment from the Veterans Administration because the funding is not there? How can anyone claim it when any veteran has to go homeless? Can it be claimed if any veteran has to spend their days drinking and doing drugs to kill off the effects of war because they have been so stigmatized by the term mental illness they would rather be labeled an alcoholic or drugged up? How pathetic is that? Are there some who actually are alcoholics or drug addicts? Sure, but for the most part these people are self medicating because they cannot turn to the VA for legal medication and treatment.
Congressman Murtha put the figure of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan at 50,000 already. How many of them are we willing to let slip through the cracks in the system designed to help them heal and cope with their service to this nation? How many are we willing to let go homeless because they served in the military? Is any of this proving they are supported? What made us think that supported ended when they were no longer doing our bidding?
The time to take the steps to insure we prove what we say was yesterday when the funding was not put into place for the veterans we already had. Tomorrow will be too late for too many. How many names are you willing to look at when they erect a monument to the fallen of Iraq and Afghanistan? How many names are you willing to acknowledge still paying the price for Vietnam? If you care nothing about being part of the solution to their problems, then shut up and get out of the way. The rest of us are willing to prove what we say when we say we honor them. Isn't it time you did the same thing?
The Wounded Warrior Project’s roots are more humble. Its founder, John Melia, was a Marine veteran who had been injured in a helicopter crash off the coast of Somalia in 1992. When wounded troops began returning from Iraq in 2003, Mr. Melia remembered how he had arrived in a stateside hospital with only his thin hospital gown, and began visiting military hospitals to distribute backpacks stuffed with socks, CD players, toothpaste and other items.
As the backpack project grew, Mr. Melia hired a few employees, including Mr. Nardizzi, a lawyer who had never served in the military but was an executive for a small nonprofit, the United Spinal Association, which served disabled veterans.
They began raising millions of dollars and broadening their services to include adaptive sports for disabled veterans, employment and benefits help, and retreats to teach veterans to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
By 2009, the group had grown to about 50 employees and $21 million in revenue. But by then, Mr. Melia and Mr. Nardizzi were fighting over the charity’s future, with Mr. Nardizzi pushing for more aggressive expansion than Mr. Melia, former employees said.
In January 2009, Mr. Melia resigned.
I've been doing this for so long now that lost count on how many different websites I've had over the years, but emails, well they're very important to me, so I save a lot of them.
This is from 2004 about the book I wrote in 2002.
This one is about another charity using "Wounded Minds" but I leave them alone even though my first video on PTSD was "Wounded Minds." This email is from 2006.
WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT INC
From my book 2002
500,000 Vietnam Veterans continue to pay because of Post Traumatic Stress and have been joined by veterans of all the other actions that followed. Hundreds of thousands continue to pay with wounds and broken bodies as well as wounded spirits. I pray that if President Bush is re-elected he learns this lesson as well. War is something that should always be the last attempt to have peace. The peace of a nation is paid by the turmoil of those who defend it.