Both Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly and his nemesis, MS-NBC's Keith Olbermann, both pro-war Republicans and 2004 anti-war Democratic primary presidential candidate, U.S. congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, have in common one thing: They all think the proposed Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is a great idea.The fund, created by a collection of powerful U.S.
businessmen and based in Manhattan, proposes to raise money to build a privately funded physical therapy and rehabilitation center for the over 15,000 American military men and women who have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They plan to build the state-of-the-art facility and then hand it over to the U.S.
Army to run.Currently, servicemen and -women coming home from the two war theatres find themselves on a waiting list for therapy and rehabilitation. The 60,000 square foot facility, to be built at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, will concentrate on "catastrophically disabled" soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but will also serve wounded veterans from other military operations.IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices, used by Iraqi and now Afghani insurgents are resulting in an unprecedented number of multiple amputations, blindness, deafness, and brain injuries to American military personnel.
If there's any good news in this, it's that a larger percentage of severely wounded soldiers is surviving than ever before, mostly as a result of phenomenal improvements in emergency treatment of injuries in the field and in every leg of the wounded soldiers' journeys back to trauma hospitals in the U.S. Beyond healing their bodies they must adapt to using prosthetic devices, interacting in a new way to their environment, and face a work and home life that will be vastly changed with the changes to their physical bodies.
Why a privately funded rehab center rather than one funded by the government? One big reason is time. A government facility would have to be proposed and approved in an appropriations bill by the U.S. House and Senate, signed into law by the president, funded, and then put out for bids.
It might happen in ten years. Big business has the power to make it happen now. Unencumbered by the demands of bureaucracy, they have realistic hopes of completing the center and having it up and running by January of 2007. In other words, they plan to "get 'er done"!.The center will not only treat the immediate problems of the returning injured vets, but will provide support for the soldiers and their families to help them adapt to their new circumstances and build a promising future. The center will also continue the organization's practice of assisting the families of soldiers killed in combat.
For more information on the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, or to make a contribution, visit http://www.fallenheroesfund.org..Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire.
She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics. She expresses her opinions periodically on her blog, http://beyondagendas.blogspot.com She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Aldene Fredenburg