By Stacey Benson, Graphics and Internal Events Coordinator, Semper Fi Fund and
2015 Armed Forces Insurance Coast Guard Spouse of the Year®
You’ve probably heard of the five Ws—they help provide the foundation for things like scientific and social research, police investigations and quality journalism.
The five Ws are, in no particular order: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? In many situations where the five Ws are being applied, an H question is also added: How?
When Military Spouse magazine asked me to write an article for this issue around the theme of giving back, the idea of the five Ws (and one H) seemed like a good way to tell the Semper Fi Fund story. So let’s dive right in:
WHO is the Semper Fi Fund?
We provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. armed forces and their families. We give back to them every day, making sure they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities—and for a lifetime, if necessary.
Me? I’m part of the Semper Fi Fund’s marketing and public relations team. I work with other teams to produce marketing and print pieces, and I support our social media and website efforts with graphics and photography. I love telling our service members’ stories through my camera’s lens. I want my images to be compelling, to show the hardships that someone has had to endure and overcome—and to connect a potential donor emotionally with our cause.
WHAT kind of support does the Semper Fi Fund provide?
We have a broad range of more than a dozen programs—all completely funded through donations from our generous supporters (who themselves are giving back to our service members)—designed to provide service members with specific assistance that matches their personal and unique needs.
For example, our Caregiver Support Program provides a variety of activities and outings to assist the spouses, parents, siblings, extended family members and close friends who drop everything to care for a wounded, critically ill or injured service member.
Our programs also assist with adaptive transportation, education and career assistance, specialized and adaptive equipment, PTSD and TBI support, unit reunions and much, much more.
I urge you to visit semperfifund.org/how-we-help/assistance for more program information.
WHEN did the Semper Fi Fund begin?
In 2003 when a group of military spouses sat around a kitchen table trying to decide how the $500 they collected could be given back to service members returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The fund was officially formed a year later and has since raised more than $133 million in assistance for more than 16,800 service members and families.
WHERE does the Semper Fi Fund provide support?
Nationwide. Our grants give back to service members in all 50 states, and we have staff located in major military hospitals on and in between both coasts.
WHY does the Semper Fi Fund do what it does?
Almost everyone at the Semper Fi Fund is a military spouse or has experienced military life in one form or another. Giving back comes naturally to us, and the basic ideal that drives our efforts is simple: For as much as our heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need.
Every day I’m excited to go to work with an amazing team of people who spend every waking hour giving back. Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make the fund a success, and everyone works in unison like a well-oiled machine—with the ultimate goal of serving those who have served us all in order to protect our freedom.
HOW can you support the Semper Fi Fund?
The easiest way to give back, of course, is with your donation. Visit our website (semperfifund.org) and select the Donate Now button at the top of the page.
You can also help by volunteering in your community. Visit our website and select the Get Involved link—we have lots of information about ways to support the fund in your hometown. If you’re a business owner who sells a product or service and would like to donate part of your profits to the fund, please contact us to see how you can be added to our Shop to Support area.
You can also give back by spreading the word about the fund: Visit us on Facebook (facebook.com/semperfifund), like our page and share our stories with your own Facebook audience. Do the same on Twitter (twitter.com/semperfifund) on YouTube (youtube.com/semperfifund) and on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/1346308).
November is a month for giving —giving thanks, of course—but also giving back. I hope you’ll join us in our mission to give back to the service members and families who have given so much of themselves—it is our debt and it is our duty.