Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, who was recognized at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, received a hero’s award Thursday at the Bellagio.
The 2014 Homer Deakins award, given by Ogletree Deakins, recognizes Remsburg for “selfless and courageous action” that demonstrates the true spirit of giving. It comes with $10,000 he said he will donate to the Lead The Way Fund, Inc., a nonprofit organization that raises funds for disabled Army Rangers and families of Ranger who have died, are injured or currently serving.
Remsburg, of Phoenix, was nearly killed in a 2009 roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan on his 10th overseas deployment.
“It was an honor to be the face of every wounded warrior,” Remsburg said after receiving a standing ovation at the State of the Union address.
“His comrades found him in a canal face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain. For months, he lay in a coma. And the next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak, he could barely move,” Obama said.
“Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab everyday. Even now, Cory’s still blind in one eye,” Obama said. “He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger.”
Newtown – Newtown resident Jason Brady, a dedicated trail and ultramarathon runner, is set to run the Peak 100 Mile Snowshoe Race in Pittsfield, VT from Feb. 28 to March 1 in an effort to raise funds for the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, a military charity.
Since 2012, Brady, a former Army Ranger, has run five 100-mile ultramarathons and multiple 50-plus mile ultramarathons, raising over $6,000 for this charity.
“I love to challenge myself, especially in trail and ultramarathon running,” says Brady, a dedicated husband and father of two. “As a former Army Ranger myself, my time in the 1st Ranger Battalion was extremely rewarding, most of all because of the individuals I served with.
“Rangers and their families give so much and I feel strongly about the fantastic charitable work that the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund does. The organization really stepped up during the government shutdown for Ranger families that did not receive death benefits and other services during that time. They are unique because they assist active and wounded U.S. Army Rangers and their families with recovery, health, wellness and other programs where government funding falls short.”
Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to raise funds in support of disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died, have been injured or are currently serving in harm’s way around the world. Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, Inc. will provide spouses and children of deceased, disabled or active duty Rangers with assistance for health and wellness programs and other services determined to be vital to the family’s well-being, beyond what the government can offer.
To contribute, visit Brady’s fundraising page HERE.
All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law and contributors will receive a letter acknowledging their donation from the Ranger Lead the Way Fund, Inc.
A host of nonprofit groups provided nearly $1.1 million and offers of additional help when the government shutdown cut aid to troops and their relatives, most notably 29 families whose uniformed loved ones died during the closure — some in combat.
The largest commitment was $700,000 divided among 28 of the families by the Fisher House Foundation, a group that builds residences on military hospital grounds for use by the relatives of casualties. The foundation is waiting for contact information on the last family, says spokesperson Jody Fisher.
In addition, a small Long Island-based nonprofit that assists Army Rangers has paid out nearly $100,000, according to Robert Hotarek, president of Lead the Way Fund.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provided more than $194,000 in financial assistance to 137 current or retired sailors, Marines and their families impacted by the shutdown, says Shelley Marshall, communications officer for the group. The money went for such expenses as travel costs for families visiting wounded or injured service members or traveling to Dover, Del. to meet remains of deceased troops, she said.
In many cases, groups expanded ongoing programs designed to offer military members emergency cash.
Army Emergency Relief provided $87,000 to 42 soldiers and their families during the shutdown for issues ranging from rental assistance to travel costs to moving expenses, says spokesman Guy Shields.
Lead the Way Fund stepped in after two Army Rangers, along with two other soldiers were killed during a night mission Oct. 6 against a compound in southern Afghanistan.
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest and other hidden bombs exploded as Rangers closed in during that assault on a compound, says Lt. Col. Brian DeSantis, a spokesman for the 75th Ranger Regiment.
The dead were Sgt. Patrick Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., and Pfc. Cody Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore., both Rangers; and Sgt. Joseph Peters, 24, of Springfield Mo., a military police investigator; and 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno, 25, of San Diego.
“Those (nonprofit) organizations — we, really, as the Ranger Regiment and, really, as a country owe them a debt of gratitude, because they were able to support four families that had just experienced a loss,” DeSantis says. “(They) banded together to make sure that four Gold Star families got everything they needed through that very difficult time.”
The Fisher House assistance was in the form of $25,000 “gifts” to those four families and the families of 25 other troops who died during the government shutdown from Oct. 1-16. Lead the Way Fund offered assistance for burial and/or travel costs for families of the four soldiers who died in Oct. 6 attack.
The shutdown prevented the Pentagon from providing an immediate $100,000 “death gratuity” to families of service members who died or were killed. Military funds for transporting families to meet the returned remains of their loved ones or to visit them at military hospitals were also canceled.
Congress eventually reinstated the death gratuity and other support payments before the shutdown ended.
The Pentagon this week identified eight other nonprofit groups that offered or provided assistance during the government shutdown. Officials in several of the groups said donors were clamoring to donate after hearing news of the suspended death gratuities.
Groups offering assistance included Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, which provided interest-free loans to furloughed Coast Guard federal civilian employees during the shutdown, said executive director Barry Boisvere. Others, according to the Pentagon, were the Dignity Memorial network of 1,800 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers; the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, Air Force Aid Society and AmVets.
JPMorgan Chase also offered assistance during the shutdown. The financial institution previously founded a jobs hiring program that with a coalition of companies has hired 92,869 veterans since 2011, says spokesperson Shannon O’Reilly.
LI charity helps families of U.S. soldiers slain, hurt in Afghanistan attack
A Long Island charity has stepped in to cover funeral and other costs for the loved ones of American soldiers killed in an Oct. 6 attack in Afghanistan.
Since the attack, which killed four U.S. soldiers and seriously wounded more than a dozen others, the Manhasset-based Lead The Way Fund has provided some $50,000 in emergency cash to help the families of two of the soldiers make funeral arrangements, said founder James Regan.
Regan, of Manhasset, said the fund provided another $30,000 to help the loved ones of injured soldiers cover the travel, lodging and other costs incurred as they have rushed to military hospitals where the soldiers have been treated.
“There is a dramatic need to get this done,” said Regan, whose son, James, was killed in Iraq in 2007.
Families of troops slain in battle typically receive a $100,000 “death gratuity” from the federal government to help cover funeral and other costs not otherwise borne by the military. But until the Senate passed a bill Thursday lifting the shutdown ban on payments, families of the Oct. 6 bombing had to find a way to cover expenses on their own.
Regan said his charity has been offering assistance to the families of Army Rangers since his son, James, 26, a member of the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Regiment, died in an Iraqi bomb blast.
So far, his organization has distributed more than $1 million in donated funds, Regan said.
“It’s to honor Jimmy, first of all,” Regan said. “To honor a son who served his country.”
Melissa Albaugh, a family coordinator with the 1st Ranger Battalion, in Savanna, Ga., said because members of military communities are bonded by the common experience of worrying about the safety of loved ones, they often depend on nonrelatives for support when tragedy strikes.
Since the government cannot legally pay for the expenses of nonrelatives, she said, funds from Lead The Way have frequently allowed grieving families to invite comforting friends along in their time of need.
For example, when his son was killed, Regan said the government paid costs incurred by the family, but not for James Regan’s fiancee, Mary McHugh. She had to pay her own way to his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
“The military can’t cover the cost of a friend, who may be a vital part of your support network at an excruciatingly painful time in your life,” said Albaugh, whose husband was with Regan’s son when he was killed. He survived the blast.
“Lead The Way means you feel supported, and that people who understand what families are going through can be there,” she said.
If you had told anyone what had happened on the back lacrosse field at Manhasset High School Saturday afternoon between Chaminade and the Indians, they probably would have said you were making it up or that it was scripted out of a Hollywood feel-good movie, too good to be true.
The Flyers took the 10-3 victory – that was believable and expected, given their dominance this year – but how they got there still makes the tale.
Before the season, senior attacker Ryan Lukacovic was awarded the No. 19 jersey based on a vote of his teammates, the same number Jimmy Regan, a Manhasset native, had worn as a member of the Flyers before going to Duke and winning a pair of ACC championships for the Blue Devils. Regan later became of the U.S. Army Rangers, the special forces division, only to lose his life in Iraq in February 2007 during his fourth tour of duty at the age of 26.
“We miss Jimmy dramatically, obviously, it’s something that you don’t get over, but you learn to deal with it,” said his father, James Sr. after the match.
“When you look back at it, what can I say – I lost my son. I don’t want to get into politics with you, I don’t want to do all that, but it’s terrible when you lose somebody like that.”
Regan, who is also a coach for the Flyers, started the “Lead the Way” fund to help families and discharged members of the Rangers and Chaminade and Manhasset play a non-league game each year that also acts as a fundraising event for the non-profit.
And there in the middle of it all was No. 19, fittingly scoring the first goal of the game. The three-year varsity player would go on to score another goal and another, notching his latest hat trick this season.
“Ryan shows a lot of poise out there, he’s going to be a tremendous player down at the University of Virginia,” Regan would say after handing back “Reg’s Rock” – the black-quartz trophy bestowed upon the winner of the annual game – to the Flyers, who now stand even with the Indians, having won it each three times.
“It’s great to get a win for him,” Lukacovic would say, his words vague enough to apply to either father or son.
Under Armour had also made sure that several Chaminade players dressed the part, sending star-spangled cleats to Tim Muller, Tom Zenker and John “Shoeless” McDaid in honor of Regan.
The sun even made a cameo appearance, parting the grey overcast in the fourth, a heavenly ovation for the Flyers as the clock wound down on another dominating performance.
“I definitely thought about it after it happened,” Lukacovic said after the win about opening the scoring. “It was definitely Jim looking down on me. I pointed to coach Regan so I just had a feeling Jimmy was definitely involved, that wasn’t just another goal.”
Ryan Lukacovic’s three goals lead Chaminade in ‘Reg’s Rock’ game
April 13, 2013 by WILL SAMMON / firstname.lastname@example.org
Wearing the No. 19 jersey as Jimmy Regan once did, in the annual matchup against Manhasset dedicated to the former Flyer, Ryan Lukacovic smiled at Chaminade assistant coach James Regan after scoring the game’s first goal.
“I definitely thought about it after it happened and I thought it was definitely Jimmy looking down on me,” Lukacovic said. “I pointed to coach Regan and thought Jimmy was definitely involved. This was unbelievable.”
Jimmy Regan was a Manhasset native and All-American lacrosse player for Chaminade. He graduated in 1998 and led Duke to two ACC championships. He died in Iraq during his fourth tour of duty as an U.S. Army Ranger in February 2007. Regan’s father, James Sr., established the “Lead the Way” fund to honor his son’s memory and Chaminade and Manhasset have played a game for the past six years that also acts as a fundraiser for the foundation.
Led by Lukacovic’s hat trick, Chaminade defeated host Manhasset Saturday, 10-3, in the non-league contest and evened up the annual series known as “Reg’s Rock,” at three games apiece.
Longtime Chaminade coach Jack Moran said the senior attack’s character, work ethic and service to the school epitomized what Jimmy Regan stood for and therefore made it an easy choice to bestow the No. 19 upon him before the season. Matt Graham wore the number last year before graduating.
“Ryan’s the best athlete in the school and yet he’s the manager of the band,” Moran said. “We’re really happy that he’s leading us right now.”
Chaminade led 5-1 at halftime, playing fast, but also playing smart. John McDaid scored two goals, and Jonathan Patterson and John Tigh each had one in addition to Lukacovic’s three.
Lukacovic scored three minutes into the second half. He notched his third a few minutes later after coming from behind the net to put Chaminade ahead 7-1 and put the game away. McDaid finished with three goals and Tigh had two for the Flyers.
Kris Clarke won 13 of 17 faceoffs and Chaminade rarely turned the ball over, racking up possessions and maximizing the clock.
Duke-bound goalie Danny Fowler didn’t receive much action as a result, but relished playing a game in honor of a hero who had ties to Fowler’s present and future schools.
“I was told Jimmy was a guy who made you want to be the best you can be and it just drives you to want to play your best for a game like this,” Fowler said.
Wearing cleats displaying an American flag design in honor of Regan, Tim Muller diligently defended Chaminade territory, holding Manhasset’s top scorer, Mike Fahey, without a goal.
“I tried not to let Mike get to the goal,” Muller said. “But more importantly, it’s a great cause and it was just great to win for coach Regan.”
Before the game, coach Regan said his son’s memory would be served well regardless of the outcome.
“I know Jimmy was looking down smiling at this game,” Regan said.