The CUs hope the $100,000 raised in the 2009-10 campaign, benefiting the Alexandria, Va.-based "Hope for the Warriors" and featuring long-distance bike and running races, will expand nationally with broad CU participation.
The first part of the project recently kick off with a 170-mile "Team Little Guy" bike ride and run in central North Carolina organized by Marine FCU of Jacksonville, N.C., and the North Carolina Credit Union League.
Craig Chamberlin, president/CEO of Marine and the campaign's No. l cheerleader, said he brought the idea to the league earlier this year of aiding Hope for Warriors after taking part in golf benefits and other charity events aimed at helping war vets at nearby Camp Lejeune. Later on, the fundraising effort extended to other military bases across the state.
What has been most poignant, said Chamberlin, is the close and vital support network that has developed in the Hope group through barracks counseling to aid these injured vets restore normality to their lives after suffering traumatic injuries.
All of the fundraising activities by CUs in North Carolina and elsewhere are slated to end June 17, 2010 with another CU-backed statewide race known as "Ride for the Warriors."
On that date, the Team Little Guy bikers will race over several days from Fort Bragg to all five major military installations in North Carolina and visiting CUs on the way.
Officials of three-year-old Hope for Warriors in Alexandria said they were elated at CU interest in their program, which funds military installations in several U.S. cities.
In some ways, this project parallels the ongoing CU-backed "Homes for Our Troops" project of last summer that was sponsored by CUNA and state leagues to build specially built homes for severely injured vets.
Chamberlin and other CU organizers pointed to the CU funding as helping finance a Warriors Hope and Care Rehabilitation Center in eastern North Carolina to offer "specialized services and family resources in a collocated, comforting venue."
Coordinating with both the Marine Corps and the Navy, the plan, said organizers, is to design "a robust rehabilitation facility that will now be built with a level of care worthy of heroes."
Regarding the Little Guy weekend run, the league noted that the 170-mile trek of the CU troupe "might seem like a daunting task, but it is no way as daunting as when a wounded warrior has to learn to walk all over again with prosthetic legs because he or she was wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq or Afghanistan."