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Battaglia: Nonprofits ‘Critical’ to Helping Troops Reintegrate

POTOMAC, Md., Oct. 27, 2014 – Nonprofit organizations such as “Birdies for the Brave” are “absolutely critical to helping the nation’s heroes reintegrate back into society,” the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

In 2005, Tournament Players Club Potomac held an event called “America Supports You” to support wounded troops. That event led professional golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to create Birdies for the Brave the following year.

More than eight years later, the success of the organization is “nothing short of amazing,”Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia said in remarks at the start of a Birdies for the Brave charity golf tournament.

More than $13 million raised

Since its founding, Birdies for the Brave has raised more than $13 million to support nine nonprofit groups that provide critical programs and services to meet the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families, said Michael Sullivan, the general manager of TPC Potomac. More than $1 million of that came through the efforts of players and fundraising events at TPC Potomac, he added.

“We do our … part to let people know we care,” Sullivan said.

“Our nation praises its veterans,” Battaglia said. But many of them return home wounded, he noted, where their long road to recovery is just starting.

“Time and technology has allowed our medicine to significantly advance in quality, in procedure, in rehabilitation and more, to … a peak that [allows] today’s wounded, ill and injured to receive absolute state-of-the-art care with state-of-the-art equipment,” the sergeant major said.

“It’s a small entitlement, I think, to all who serve in America’s armed forces — a patriotic thanks from our society for defending America’s freedom,” Battaglia continued.

Rejoining America’s communities

And at some point, these wounded, ill and injured service members will complete their military service and return to the cities and towns they call home, he said. They return with a determination that their “injuries may impact some qualities in life, but, by God, not impact the qualities of life,” Battaglia said.

“They join America’s communities and our nation’s neighborhoods with a hope … to fit in, to become a vibrant part of society,” the sergeant major said. “From mildly mangled up to severely disabled, they all want to flourish as American citizens.”

From time to time, these veterans may need “a hand up rather than a handout,” Battaglia continued. “We have over 52,000 wounded at different stages of recovery. … If nothing else, today’s event will help us all in reaffirming part of America’s generosity.”

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews)