Kate Patrick, Navy Federal Credit Union
For Kate Patrick, supporting veterans plays a huge role in both her job as a Closing Supervisor in Mortgage Lending for Navy Federal Credit Union and in the reasons why her organization chooses to give to Semper Fi & America’s Fund.
“Three core values guide the work we do at Navy Federal,” said Kate. “One of those is championing community. For us, that means fostering financial health and well-being for the military, veterans, and their families. It also means improving outcomes in our local communities. Giving back to the areas where we live and serve through volunteerism and philanthropic giving is a part of who we are at our core.”
Established in 1933 with only seven members, Navy Federal now has the distinct honor of serving over 12 million members globally and is the world’s largest credit union. As a member-owned and not-for-profit organization, Navy Federal’s mission is to always put members first, and each area of the credit union operates with the same purpose in mind: make members’ financial goals the top priority. Membership is open to all branches of the armed forces, veterans, and their families. Dedicated to its mission of service, Navy Federal employs a workforce of over 21,000 and has a global network of 348 branches. Navy Federal is honored to serve those who serve, with a field of membership comprising of all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, veterans, civilian and contractor personnel, and their families.
“Supporting anyone in need is important. Those in the military sacrifice a lot and deserve every chance to succeed. Without support from us, organizations like Semper Fi & America’s Fund would not be able to help them. It is very hard for those who have been injured while in the military to adjust back to life at home. Knowing there are organizations like The Fund to help them adapt to their new lifestyles is a huge relief,” said Kate. “I am a Marine and served actively from 2001 to 2006. I also have many family members that were in the military. While I personally was not injured, I have two brothers and a sister that suffered injuries while in the Army. These injuries were both physical and mental. It is organizations such as Semper Fi & America’s Fund that helped them get on their feet so they could thrive in life outside of the military.”
For more information about Navy Federal Credit Union, please visit navyfederal.org.
Ever since Steve Twohig became a supporter of Semper Fi & America’s Fund in 2004, his generosity and deep care for our nation’s heroes has resulted in a long-lasting impact on The Fund family. In his own words:
I heard about Semper Fi & America’s Fund in late 2003 from friends who watched Karen’s [Karen Guenther] original CBS interview. Seeing what you ladies [The Fund team] and my former commander from Okinawa, General Al Gray, were doing prompted me to get involved. I thought you could use a little fire support. In my view, anyone who ever wore the Marine Corps uniform should do what they can. Bob Parsons sets the absolute best possible example for us all.
I was pleased that my board of the company I ran back in 2004 agreed to provide the free and unlimited use of one of our hotel ballrooms, as well as unlimited free hotel room nights for the annual pasta dinner and free room nights for The Fund family members visiting their wounded heroes at Bethesda Medical or Walter Reed [National Military Medical Center].
We had the honor of hosting the Semper Fi & America’s Fund dinners for years until they became so large that the annual get-together had to be moved to a hotel with a larger ballroom. It was my great honor to get to know these young, brave, and truly selfless American heroes of team Semper Fi & America’s Fund.
I will continue to support your efforts for decades to come for two reasons. First, the needs are great and will not diminish even if combat deployments are less in the future. Second, and most importantly, General Gray told me to keep doing what I’m doing. No Marine ever wants to disappoint the man himself, General Gray!
I am delighted to see [the town of] Quincy’s own, General “Fighting Joe” Dunford is now at the helm [serving as Chairman of The Fund’s Board]. He has the honor of following in the footsteps of General Gray and General Amos. In short, it has been the privilege of my lifetime to be a nearly two decade long supporter of Semper & America’s Fund.
God bless, Godspeed, and Semper Fidelis,
The Winter Golf Cottage in Freistaat Florida
Maureen Crabbe, mother of Marine Corporal Justin Crabbe
We give to The Fund because on August 26th, 2011, our lives changed forever. Our son, Corporal Justin Crabbe (USMC, age 22), while on foot patrol in the Kajahi Dam province in Afghanistan, stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). This resulted in the loss of both his legs above the knee and multiple fingers. Semper Fi & America’s Fund was the very first organization to greet us in the ICU waiting room at Walter Reed Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
We had traveled from our home in California in shock, as anyone can imagine. It was August, I never packed a jacket, and hospitals are COLD … Semper Fi & America’s Fund to the rescue with nice warm fleece jackets and blankets. You have no idea how comforting that was especially since my son lay in that bed on life support, unable to speak.
This was the start of a beautiful relationship. We are very proud people and have never ever relied on anyone to assist us. We were always the family that created fundraisers, packed military boxes, and were the ones helping others. Never in a million years would we think that we would be on the receiving end of the ones accepting help. That was a huge pill to swallow.
Semper Fi & America’s Fund’s mission is simple and one that is easy to embrace. This is why we are so PASSIONATE about giving back. We can never repay that very first moment of genuine comfort given to us and the great big HUG that came along with it.
From day one, and still today, 12 years later, Semper Fi & America’s Fund follows my son, Justin, and his family and ensures that all their needs are met no matter how small! This is the gift that keeps on giving because our service members truly have given their ALL! God bless The Fund and all their awesome volunteers and members! God truly has placed them on this earth to give us all hope, light, and laughter! We are the most BLESSED FAMILY on this earth!
Thank you, and GOD BLESS AMERICA!
In 2015 I began giving to and spreading the word about The Fund to honor my Dad’s service as a Marine in WWII (Iwo Jima), Korea and Vietnam, as well as my Mom’s service as a Marine Wife and Marine Mom. It started in conjunction with The Fund’s annual Marine Corps Marathon fundraising event. Each year as part of that effort, during the event I carry a $5 bill that my Dad had in his back pocket for the entire Battle of Iwo Jima and a Cameo pin that my Mom wore whenever I was deployed as a Marine. I also formed a team of fundraisers whose Dad’s had also served in the Pacific in WWII called “Sons of Pacific Heroes”. I initially picked The Fund because of the organization’s dedication to providing support for the needs of combat injured veterans and their families of all services – filling in real-time gaps of current government provided support. I was also impressed with The Fund’s ability to maximize the amount of funds that go directly to meeting the needs of the veterans they support.
I continue to support The Fund to honor my Dad’s and Mom’s service. But over the years I have learned more about The Fund’s roots, gotten to know the people at The Fund and even had a chance to work directly with some of the veterans supported. This has only increased my support and enthusiasm for The Fund. So, I continue to look for every opportunity to tell The Fund’s story and how it serves veterans and their families. And finally, I just don’t want to let down the incredible people at The Fund doing this important work!
Since I started in 2015 I have personally raised $186,000 and led the Sons of Pacific Heroes Team that has raised $263,000 for The Fund!
Kristi Willette, Willette Charitable Foundation
Chick Willette, my late husband, is our inspiration and our purpose. His service to protect our freedom resulted in a terminal disease many years later. It wasn’t until meeting Semper Fi & America’s Fund that we realized the full scope of the sacrifices of our service members. It’s because of our service members and veterans that we enjoy the lives we “choose.” Through Semper Fi & America’s Fund, we saw the reality of what service and sacrifice for our country really means and what it costs in our daily lives. The sacrifices of every service member and their family have afforded us our freedoms. To ignore their needs, in whatever fashion, and go about our daily lives without a thought to the enormity of their dedication is unthinkable. As part of the public who benefits from their service, a question should never arise as to “if” we can help. Rather, the dialogue needs to be “how” can we help.
Sgt Maj Harold A. Dulude, USMC (Ret.)
There are many reasons I contribute monthly to Semper Fi & America’s Fund, but the main reason is because of the help they provide to our injured military personnel and their families at a time when help is needed the most. I started contributing to Semper Fi & America’s Fund when it was first established at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton by a handful of dedicated women with limited resources, who saw a need to help my Marines. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time and saw firsthand what those dedicated women were doing. I am glad to see that Semper Fi & America’s Fund is able to help military personnel from all branches of our armed forces. That is why I contribute monthly and have made provisions in my family trust to contribute monthly long after I am gone from this world. If you contribute to only one veteran service organization, Semper Fi & America’s Fund should be your fund of choice. No one does more with so little for so many.
Clint Smith, Community Athlete
When asked “why I give” to Semper Fi & America’s Fund, the first thing that comes to mind is gratitude. When The Fund is called to help our patriotic warriors, it is my hope that these heroes find some peace in knowing their sacrifice is appreciated.
Our military is called to serve for any number of reasons. They are motivated by love, patriotism, bravery, ability, fortitude, duty, family, honor, discipline and hundreds of other purposes.
Regardless of circumstance, with extraordinary bravery, they are initiated and welcomed to their service in terrifying conditions, unique to anything they could have ever experienced or anticipated. Many of those men and women then, with our flag on their shoulder, bravely provide service abroad — on foreign soil — in uncompromising situations and environments, fearlessly.
We can never adequately return the favor. Their sacrifice from family, comfort, and things we take for granted daily — on behalf of the freedom and safety we all enjoy — cannot be returned. The very least we can do is ‘everything’ we can to let our military know they are appreciated, loved, and respected.
It is an honor to contribute and be part of this organization. Through Semper Fi & America’s Fund, it is my hope that, first, we can help as many of those that need our help as possible, and, second, let them know that their service is appreciated.
Cody McGregor, Barrington Family Foundation
Five years ago, our family learned of a brave Marine who had sustained life-altering injuries while serving in Afghanistan. When we reached out to him to see if we could help, he and his wife recommended we instead consider Semper Fi & America’s Fund. We did and were impressed with the cause, the organization, and the leadership. Since that introduction, the Barrington Family Foundation has been proud to partner with The Fund to support its mission of providing resources and support to combat-wounded, critically ill, and catastrophically injured veterans and their families.
Our family’s foundation concentrates its partnerships with organizations that demonstrate measurable positive impacts that make a difference in people’s lives. We’ve been so impressed with how The Fund does that, along with its infrastructure and talented team. They’re really making a difference in the lives of those who have served to protect us, and we’re privileged to be a small part of that good work.
Matt Phillips, Military Java Group
It’s an honor and privilege to be working with Semper Fi & America’s Fund and assisting them in their mission of supporting our wounded troops from all service branches. They are very special to me as my dad was a WWII Marine who spent 20+ months in the Pacific, and so our company is a tribute to him in supporting The Fund.
Dad was the youngest of 16, with 14 being boys. Three served in WWI, one a Silver Star recipient for action in France with the USA 77th Division (he left it to me, which I treasure). Five served in WWII and one, my Uncle Winefred, served in both wars. He was on a Navy destroyer in the first and joined the Navy Seabees after Pearl Harbor. He participated in 4 campaigns in the Pacific, the last on Okinawa where he ran into his son, also a Navy Seabee.
I couldn’t serve in uniform as, due to an injury, my right eye was removed at age 7. And so, I ended up in the green coffee trading business, lived in Brazil and spent 25 years trading coffee. The last 15 years, I was the President of a Brazilian Agri Group, and our HQ was down the block from 1 MCRD HQ in Garden City, NY, where I met and befriended Marines and did what I could to support them and their families.
After retiring from coffee, and never having the opportunity to serve, I went to my Marine buddies and asked if they could help get me a deployment to Iraq. In 2008, they came through for me, and I deployed as part of the OIF LOGCAP mission and then volunteered to forward deploy and was sent to FOB Warrior, Kirkuk.
It was there, seeing firsthand as to what a great job all these young men and women do – and in such miserable conditions – that the idea for Military Java Group was formed. And Semper Fi & America’s Fund, because of the great people and work that they do, was my choice to affiliate our coffee and mission with.
Military Java Group is the culmination of a desire to take 35-years of coffee-industry experience and mold it into something which can make a difference in the lives of our young men and women who have given so much in service and sacrifice to this great nation. Coffee has shared a special place in the American military tradition as far back as the Civil War and continues to be a part of military life to this day. We hope you join us in our mission of supporting all of our Military by purchasing our great, 100% Arabica coffee, where 50% of profits are donated to Semper Fi & America’s Fund.
Elizabeth Kellogg, Semper Fi Open
Our relationship with Semper Fi & America’s Fund started almost 10 years ago. Our business is based around military contracting, and we wanted to find a way to give back. My sister approached my dad about starting a golf tournament to raise money; the first thing he tasked her with was finding the “right” organization to support. As soon as the research began, she knew that The Fund was precisely the type of charity we were looking to help. They had local roots in San Diego, their overhead costs were (and continue to be) almost non-existent, and they were committed to the lifelong support of our nation’s heroes. Sadly, my sister passed away a few weeks before our inaugural event in 2012 while awaiting her second heart transplant. We support Semper Fi & America’s Fund in memory of my sister and in the memory of all the service members that made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our freedom and ideals.
Everything I do for Semper Fi & America’s Fund is to honor my dad, who everyone affectionately calls Sgt. Bob, USMC November 1966 – December 1970.
I started running for The Fund in 2010 to honor the hard work my father did (almost 40+ years after he got home from Vietnam) and to help with his PTSD. No service member should ever feel the way our Vietnam Veterans felt when they came home. The Fund has made sure that all my dad’s “brothers and sisters” have the support emotionally and financially when they need it. To provide support, I fundraise.
I was volunteering at a water stop for the 2013 Boston Marathon. This is a day those of us in the running community and the world will never forget. The Fund came to Boston with a team in four days to help those who were catastrophically injured. The Fund used their experience in helping our service members to help civilians. For providing mentors to those in need, I fundraise.
In September 2020 my world was turned upside down when my father, Sgt. Bob, was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer from his exposure to Agent Orange. This was a full circle moment for us. For the past 10 years, I have fundraised for Semper Fi & America’s Fund. The Fund and The LCpl Parsons Welcome Home Fund for Vietnam Veterans were there for my father. They provided financial support as we spent 2 months going into Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston for treatment. For helping my dad, I will forever fundraise.
The Fund is just part of me. Everyone can do something to help others. For all the love I have for The Fund, I fundraise “Just Because”.
Land of the Free Foundation
Those of us at the Land of the Free Foundation are proud and honored to be able to support Semper Fi and America’s Fund (“The Fund”). When we started our Foundation back in 2007, we were looking for beneficiaries who would support our mission to support Service Members and their families who work and sacrifice every day to ensure America remains the Land of the Free.
We give because The Fund has proven to be an organization worthy of our donations. As former Marine and Navy Officers ourselves, we are fortunate to be able to give back, and we know that well over 90% of our donation will go directly to programs supporting Veterans, active duty members, and their families. It is important to us that none of our donations are wasted on advertising, administrative costs, and excessive executive compensation; with The Fund, that is never a concern.
Additionally, we see how The Fund cares for severely wounded Service Members by providing assistance with everything from modifications to automobiles, upgraded software programs for those who can no longer type, and specialized mattresses for those with burns or multiple injuries. They even provide service dogs through a great canine companion program.
Thank God for Semper Fi and America’s Fund and for all of the fantastic staff and volunteers who tirelessly support those who have decided to serve our great nation.
Land of the Free Foundation
Tony & Maureen LaBoa
We can’t write big checks, but we can talk about Semper Fi & America’s Fund so that folks donate what they can.
Part of our fundraising used to involve a massive yard sale. At one of these, a WWII vet (I could tell by his baseball cap) walked up the driveway, asked who was in charge, and demanded that I promise him that his money would indeed get to the Fund. I assured him it would, and that in fact, we would have it matched when it was donated the next day. He opened his thin wallet. He held a bill between his fingers for a second, and then handed it to me. It was a single dollar bill, and I could see he only had one other one in there.
That was not our biggest donation, of course, over all these years. And yet it was. As he walked purposefully back down the driveway to his old car, I wondered what he had seen and survived that made him understand the importance of assisting our veterans. That man donated half of the money he had on him and didn’t want anything in return, except the assurance that we weren’t going to screw up. I didn’t need to tell him about how all donations add up; his generation knows that sometimes one person alone can’t do much, but everyone working together can really make a difference. He brought tears to my eyes that day, and when thoughts of him pop up at random times, he still does.
We are thrilled to support an organization who knows what to do with big checks, but also with any donation. I can’t say that any of them are small. The Semper Fi & America’s Fund knows how to make them add up so that every single dollar makes a difference. They have been responsible stewards of people’s donations from the very beginning, and this has made it easy to support them, and the important work they do for our nation’s heroes.
TIM AND SANDY DAY
Why I Give
Tim and Sandy Day – Canine Companions Program.
Bob & Gladys Rodriguez
My husband and I found out about the Semper Fi & America’s Fund in 2005 (then it was called the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund), when my daughter-in-law told us about a friend who had been injured in Iraq and was at Walter Reed Hospital. We went to visit him, and his wife told us about what wonderful support they had received from the IMSFF, giving her some food, and other items to make their stay at the hospital a bit easier. Bob and I were touched by this, and contacted the Fund, starting our support at that time.
There are many reasons we support the SF&AF – first of all, our military is such an important part of our country – always risking their lives to protect us and sacrificing a lot by doing this – long times in deployment without seeing their families, missions in dangerous places where their lives are at stake, and fighting always to protect our country.
Our second two reasons are – first, our sons did not choose to join the military, and they live their lives in a safe environment, thanks to those who have chosen to look out for all our citizens through their military career.
Our second reason is my husband and I emigrated from Cuba in 1970 and are eternally grateful to our adopted country for the welcoming love and friendship we have enjoyed during more than 50 years as Americans. We are Americans in our hearts, and will continue to support our military through the SF&AF and in every other way possible for as long as we live. We are eternally grateful to all of them who sacrifice their comfort and even their lives to protect us.
Our injured service members and their families have ahead of them a life of challenges and sad moments, and Bob and I feel a tremendous obligation to do our part in helping them ease their challenges, pain and suffering through this wonderful organization, the SF&AF. They will have our support for the rest of our lives!
May God Bless Them All, and may God Bless America Always!
MSgt Dean Zenoni (Ret.) & Dr. Lorri Zenoni
Why We Give? We give because we have been there. As an injured veteran and his wife, we know how life-changing the support from Semper Fi & America’s Fund is. We want to help our fellow brothers and sisters to let them know that no one is left behind. We want them to know that recovery can be a life-long process and there is hope. NEVER give up HOPE!
Jack & Annalise Klien
Why We Give – Rebecca Klien (Children – Jack and Annalise)
In 2011, a dear friend lost her husband in Afghanistan, and our family was inspired to look for ways to help military families. When we found Semper Fi & America’s Fund, we knew we’d be supporters for life. My children wanted to help and decided they could best fundraise by baking apple pies and asking for donations to The Fund. The effort was a smash-hit, and the Semper Pie fundraiser has become something we treasure doing every fall. SF&AF has given our family the opportunity to connect with military families and build lifelong friendships.
Last summer, we planted apple trees. My hope is that in the years to come, we may be able to bake some of our pies using apples from our own little orchard!